No, there’s no mistake in the title you just read. Cholesterol. The one word that we all here from our doctors, family and friends and our first reaction always is, “Try to keep your cholesterol levels down.” It would not be completely incorrect to say this, but it is not completely true either.
First, it is important to know that cholesterol in your body can either be good cholesterol (HDL) or bad cholesterol (LDL) and to live healthy, you need to maintain high HDL levels and low LDL levels. Maintaining these levels can depend on a variety of factors includingyour lifestyle, like eating and exercise habits. Here are some tips that can help you maintain your HDL levels.
Exercise: 20 to 30 minutes of exercise 3 to 4 times a week can spike your good cholesterol levels.
Stop smoking today: discontinuing smoking can increase your HDL levels.
Watch the weight: Losing those extra pounds and getting your BMI level to less than 25 can significantly increase your HDL levels.
Cut down on bad fat: Saturated and trans-fat should be cut down completely as they tend to increase your bad cholesterol (LDL)levels.
Cut down on carbohydrates: Food items with like processed cereals and white bread have high carbohydrate content that can loweryour HDL levels and increase other fat levels in your blood.
Control your drinks: Drinking is not harmful to your health if it’s in moderate amounts. A drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men can help increase your good cholesterol levels.
Fiber: Vegetables, nuts and whole grains are rich in fiber and can increase your good cholesterol levels. A handful of nuts can be very helpful in boosting your HDL levels. Vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, carrots, Brussels sprouts, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and greens should form an important part of your diet.
Fruits: Always a healthy snack. Fruits like bananas, pears, apples, avocados and berries are rich in calcium, anti-oxidants and fiber. They also help spike up your HDL levels. Orange juice is also a great source of vitamin C and helps you fight fatigue and energize yourself.
Say NO to steroids: Anabolic steroids like testosterone and substances that have a testosterone-like effect are sometimes used to treat problems that cause the body to produce low amounts of testosterone. These steroids can decrease your HDL levels, which is why you should always consult an expert before using any such substances.
Medication: Vitamin B3 works very well to increase your HDL levels, but it may also have side effects which is why it should be taken only in small doses, after a consultation with a doctor.
Fish: Fishes rich in omega-3-fatty acids are known for their ability to increase HDL levels. Salmon, Sardines and tuna fish are rich in omega-3 which not only increases HDL, but also helps decrease LDL levels and control blood pressure.
Soy: Soybeans contain proteins that help reduce bad cholesterol levels and increase good cholesterol levels, thus protecting the heart.
Oats: Another rich source of fiber, oatmeal lowers the absorption of bad cholesterol in your blood.
Yogurt: Low-fat yogurt is a good source of HDL.
Dark chocolate: We all love chocolate. Now you have another reason to indulge in your favourite dark chocolate.
Spinach: The secret to Popeye the sailor’s strength is really no secret. Spinach contains flavonoids that keep you protected from heart diseases and cancer.
Garlic: Garlic helps reduce bad cholesterol levels and fight plaque clogged in your arteries.
Blueberries: Another delicious way to reduce the level of bad cholesterol in your blood.
Knowing the difference between your good cholesterol and bad cholesterol and understanding how to maintain the right levels is extremely beneficial to yourhealth, especially your heart.
For more information about your heart and how to look after your heart health better, visit http://www.asianheartinstitute.org.
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