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Lifestyle changes recommended for the management of cholesterol

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Managing cholesterol means maintaining it within the safe range. It is important because high cholesterol levels make you vulnerable to stroke and several other cardiovascular diseases. The good news is, you can keep a check on rising levels by incorporating those lifestyle changes that we recommend here.

Exercise almost everyday

Whether you are overweight or not, exercising will keep bad cholesterol (LDL) levels at the bay. Doctors advise to exercise for at least half an hour in day but if you cannot manage that try at least 10 minutes of cardiovascular exercise. Get on with your favourite sports, go for walking, jogging, biking, swimming, dancing etc.

Yoga and meditation are also immensely beneficial.

Maintain healthy weight

Being overweight is one of the biggest culprits behind high cholesterol levels. Check your BMI, if it’s high then try to reduce it at least by 5-10%. You can achieve this through exercise and balanced diet. We shall explain the cholesterol free diet in the next segment.

Cholesterol free diet

You just need to choose foods that are free from cholesterol. So, next time while scouring through grocery racks and a food menu, skim foods that contain no or very minimal amount of cholesterol, saturated fats and refined carbohydrates. Avoid cookies, chips, deep fried foods, fast foods, cakes, donuts, whole cream dairy products, refined flour products, egg yolk, red meat, coconut, certain sea foods like prawns, oysters, etc. Instead make healthy choices.

While being on a cholesterol management plan, you also need to cut down on aerated and sugary drinks.

So what to eat to manage cholesterol?

  • Have plenty of fibrous fruits and vegetables. Get more dietary fibre
  • Eat foods rich in omega -3- fatty acids- The best choices are nuts, seeds, fish (salmon, tuna, mackreal). You can also eat lean meat.
  • Check your cooking oil- Olive oil, peanut oil, sunflower seed oil, etc. are healthy for your heart
  • Have healthy carbohydrates- whole grain pasta, oats, whole grain bread, barley, brown rice, etc.

Follow a healthy cooking plan

If you are addicted to adding dollops of oil, butter, cheese and ghee while cooking, then it’s time to take a break from that disastrous habit. Get an oil sprayer- it will help you to control the amount of oil you are adding. Try healthy recipes like- boiling, grilling, baking, roasting, and sautéing.

Quit smoking

A study from the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart Lung and Blood Institute reveals that smoking, despite having several health hazards can also cause decline in HDL or “good” cholesterol in the body. Thus, when HDL declines, there’s automatic rise in LDL cholesterol levels. When you are religiously managing cholesterol, quit smoking.

Have red wine in moderation

Get rid of whiskey, beer and rum; instead have red wine in moderation. Doctors say that 2 pegs for men and a single peg for woman can help to bring down cholesterol levels. This is because wine is rich in antioxidants. However, it’s important to have control over self because it’s recommended for therapeutic purpose.  

Follow the aforementioned lifestyle changes to manage cholesterol in the right way. Good luck!

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 29, 2015