How to Balance Cholesterol?
When it comes to cholesterol, there is the good, the bad, and the ugly. The good is high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and the bad is low-density lipoprotein. You want to keep the former comparatively high and the latter as low as possible. If you fail to do this, things just might get ugly. According to the new guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, people with diabetes, heart disease, "bad" cholesterol over 190 or a 10-year risk of heart attack above 7.5% should take statins. For the rest, here are few pieces of advice you can follow if you want your cholesterol to be more like Clint Eastwood, and less like Lee Van Cleef or Eli Wallach.
Losing weight. Shedding 5%-10 of body weight can really bring cholesterol levels down; the catch is that it isn’t easy to accomplish. You can’t expect to lose all that weight all of a sudden, but you can surely get there by making gradual lifestyle changes, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or brown-bagging a healthy lunch instead buying fast food.
Trimming fat. Saturated and trans fats are the harbingers of bad cholesterol. They are found in red meat and dairy products, as well as foods which contain hydrogenated oil. Choose monosaturated fats from olive, peanut, and canola oils, and replace organ meats like liver with leaner cuts. While you’re at it, eat egg substitutes and drink skim milk as opposed to egg yolks and whole milk products. More nutritional tips to lower bad cholesterol include ingesting whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, omega-3-rich fish like salmon, mackerel and herring, and consuming soluble fiber from oatmeal, kidney beans, apples, pears, barley and prunes.
Being active. We mentioned including physical activity during your day, and you can do it by riding a bike to work, taking a walk during your lunch hour, jogging in the mornings, playing a sports game with your friends, etc. The goal should be to exercise at least 30 minutes every day, which can help with the weight loss we talked about.
Cigarettes and alcohol. These habits may negatively affect blood pressure, and be a risk factor in heart failure and stroke. Quitting either drinking or smoking will benefit your overall health, including your cholesterol levels.
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