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How is your cholesterol, after a recent check-up your doctor has mentioned that you have high cholesterol, don’t worry you can still lower your cholesterol. The best way to lower your cholesterol is by changing your dies and lifestyle. Lowering your cholesterol automatically lowers your risk of a heart disease. You may be given medicines to lower your cholesterol but still you need to change your diet and become more active to have heart health.

What is good and bad cholesterol?

It is accepted that the body needs a small amount of cholesterol to function perfectly but many people have too much of cholesterol and especially the ‘bad’ kind or LDL cholesterol. When you consume too much saturated fat, found in animal products you increase the level of LDL in your body. When LDL level is too high it leads to build up in the heart’s arteries and leads to heart diseases. Actually if you have a fair measure of HDL or good cholesterol then it will help in clearing LDL from the blood.

The ‘handy’ portions

Overeating is now a widespread problem and especially you tend to overeat when you go to a hotel or restaurant. It is always best to stick to your home diet for a healthy life. But even at home you can keep track of what you are eating and how much with a simple trick. Use your hand to measure the food you are going to eat. One serving of meat or fish is about what fits into the palm of your hand. One serving of fresh fruit is about the size of your fist. Similarly a serving of nuts, cooked vegetables, rice or pasta should fit a cupped hand.

What to eat to lower cholesterol?

You need not look too far to know what to eat! Just load your plat with fruits and vegetables. Five to nine servings each day of fruits and vegetables can help bring down the LDL levels. Actually the antioxidants in these foods provide the benefits along with fibre. The trick again is to fill up with produce so that you eat less of fatty food. The double advantage is you will lower your blood pressure and keep weight in check if you have a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Prefer unsaturated oils

Your body needs some fat and it comes from your diet but not as much as you consume daily. Unsaturated fats like in canola, olive ans sunflower oil lowers LDL and may help raise HDL or good cholesterol. Saturated fats like those found in meat, dairy products and palm oil only goes to increase LDL. Good fats also has too many calories so we have to use them only a bit at a time.

The best carbohydrates

The best carbs are found in beans and whole grains such as brown rice and whole wheat. They have more fibre and does not raise the blood sugar levels. These food lower cholesterol and make you feel fuller. Carbs found in white bread, potatoes, white rice and pastries boost blood sugar suddenly and so you feel hungry within few hours, which means you tend to eat more and increase your weight.

Exercise regularly

It has been seen that exercise can improve cholesterol. Very moderate physical activity can help to raise HDL cholesterol levels. A work out of atleast 30 minutes every day will do the job.

Give up smoking

Everyone knows the benefits of giving up smoking but it also helps to improve HDL cholesterol levels. Within minutes of quitting the blood pressure and heart rate decreases, in  a year’s time the risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker and in 10 years the risk is similar to a non-smoker’s.

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