Did you know that high cholesterol raises your risk of heart disease and stroke? According to the World Health Organization, elevated cholesterol resulted in about 2.6 million deaths globally.
Here’s the good news! You can control your risk by decreasing your “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and increasing your “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. LDL causes the build-up of cholesterol in the blood vessels, resulting in clogged arteries, strokes and heart attacks. HDL, on the other hand, removes cholesterol from the vessels, preventing these diseases.
Here we will share with you 5 tips to improve your cholesterol.
1. Stay away from Trans Fats
Trans fats are produced by hydrogenation, a process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to increase their stability. Such fats increase your “bad” LDL cholesterol and decrease your “good” HDL cholesterol. They have been shown to elevate one’s risk of developing heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
As such, you should avoid consuming trans fats. Look out for “partially hydrogenated” oil in the ingredient list; this means that the product contains trans fats. Examples of foods containing trans fats include fried foods, baked goods (e.g. cakes, cookies and crackers), stick margarine and other spreads.
2. Consume more Omega-3s
Omega-3s lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol and protect you against heart disease. You are recommended to eat fatty fish (high in omega-3s) twice or thrice a week. Remember to choose those that are lower in mercury (e.g. wild salmon and sardines).
3. Increase your intake of Soluble Fiber
Research has shown that consuming 3g of soluble fiber supplements daily for 3 months can reduce 18% of LDL cholesterol. This is so as soluble fiber nourishes the good bacteria in your intestines, which lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol. You can find high amount of soluble fiber in whole grains, oats, beans and fruits.
4. Stay Active
Exercise promotes heart health as it not only decreases your “bad” LDL cholesterol, it also increases your “good” HDL cholesterol. You are recommended to exercise for 30 minutes five times weekly. Get a buddy to exercise with you. This can help keep you motivated.
5. Quit Smoking
Did you know that smoking raises your “bad” LDL cholesterol and lowers your “good” HDL cholesterol? It even hinders your body from transporting cholesterol to the liver for storage or breakdown. The good news is you can reverse these effects by giving up smoking!
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