There are two types of cholesterol, namely low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). LDL is the 'bad' cholesterol because it leads to plaque buildup in arteries. If you have higher LDL levels than normal, you might be at a greater risk of heart attack and stroke. HDL is the 'good' cholesterol as it helps in eliminating that excess bad cholesterol. Higher levels of HDL are associated with a reduced risk of heart attack. To maintain normal cholesterol levels, it is important to understand both these levels.
High cholesterol levels can put you at a higher risk of heart disease and heart attacks. Medications can help in lowering the cholesterol levels. However, it is better if you would firstly make necessary lifestyle moderations to improve your cholesterol levels. A few changes in your daily diet routine can majorly help in lowering cholesterol and enhancing heart health. Keep reading to know about useful tips to maintain cholesterol levels.
How to maintain healthy cholesterol levels?
Here is a list of five tips that you can follow to maintain healthy cholesterol levels:
Besides consuming a healthy diet, regular exercise should be a necessary part of your daily routine as it helps in regulating many functions in your body. You should try and engage in at least one form of exercise, such as running, walking, jogging, swimming, cardio, yoga or even dancing. Keeping your body active can play a major role in influencing the cholesterol levels.
2. Eat omega-3 fatty acid rich foods
Omega-3 fatty acids do not impact LDL cholesterol directly. However, they have other heart-healthy benefits, such as lowering blood pressure levels and can improve HDL levels. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, mackerel, herring, walnuts and flaxseeds. Try to include these food items in your diet.
3. Avoid processed foods and trans, saturated fats
Trans fats are just unsaturated fats that have been modified through a process known as hydrogenation. This is done to make the unsaturated fats in vegetable oils more stable as an ingredient. A lot of the food manufacturers use trans fats because they are cost effective and long-lasting as compared to others. Rich sources of trans fats are fried foods, some prepackaged or processed foods, etc. Cheese, milk, and other dairy products have very less amounts of natural trans fats. You should try to avoid trans fats as they can affect the harmful cholesterol levels in your body.
4. Quit smoking
Smoking increases the risk of heart disease in several ways, including an impact on cholesterol levels. It can directly affect how the body manages cholesterol levels. Smoking makes the immune cells weak and they are not able to transport cholesterol from vessel walls to the blood for carrying to the liver. This damage is because of the high amount of tobacco.
5. Maintain healthy weight
Maintaining an optimum weight can also help in maintaining your cholesterol levels. If you are obese or overweight, then it is crucial to work on it to manage cholesterol. If you exercise regularly and take a healthy diet, then you can achieve your weight loss goal in no time. Weight loss has an added benefit on cholesterol levels as it can increase good HDL and reduce bad LDL.