LDL cholesterol or the bad cholesterol builds up in the walls of the arteries and narrows the flow of blood through the arteries. This could lead to hardening of the arteries and then lead to heart attack and can also cause other heart problems or health issues.
Causes for increased LDL levels
Consuming the wrong type of food items, leading a stressful life, high level of pollution, lack of exercise, and genes could be blamed for the increase in LDL levels.
Symptoms of high LDL levels
There are no specific symptoms of high LDL levels, only a series of blood tests can reveal high LDL cholesterol levels.
How to lower LDL cholesterol levels
A few changes in your lifestyle can help in lowering the LDL cholesterol levels. Apart from lowering the LDL cholesterol levels, a few lifestyle changes can help you to stay away from the medicines. Here are the few changes that can help to lower the LDL cholesterol levels.
- Eat heart healthy foods: If you had unhealthy eating habits for ages, still following certain diet restrictions can prove to be a boon for you and help to reduce the bad cholesterol levels and thus prove to be healthy for you.
- Consume healthier fats: Saturated fats, which constitute the main part of the red meat and dairy products result in the increase of your total cholesterol and also LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol). For a healthy life, only 7 per cent of your total calories should be derived from saturated fats. Opting for leaner cut meat, skimmed dairy product, and mono-saturated fats, which are available in olive oil and canola oil is advisable.
- Avoid Trans fat: Trans fat is enemy in the case of heart health. It increases bad cholesterol of the body and reduces good cholesterol levels of the body. This increase and decrease combination can be very fatal for the heart. Trans fat is a common ingredient found in cookies, crackers, fried foods, and snack cakes. Even the food items that read “with partially hydrogenated oils” should also be avoided.
There are certain food items that are good for your heart health, these food items include green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, oatmeal, whey protein, nuts and walnuts, fish and fish oil, barley, and other food items that have high fiber and low fat.
- Include exercise in your daily regimen and increase your physical activity: Including exercise in any format in your daily schedule helps to reduce LDL cholesterol. Even the increase of your daily physical activities can raise the LDL levels.It means 10 minutes of physical activity with even interval can help in reducing LDL cholesterol. The following are the activities that can help to lead a healthy life.– go for a brisk walk every day
– cycle to your work place
– start swimming
– indulge in a sport
– take stairs in place of the elevator
In the beginning, you may find it difficult to continue with your exercise regime but starting it with a friend or in a group can motivate you and keep you committed in your exercise regime.
- Stop smoking: If you quit smoking, it might increase your HDL level. It also reduces the blood pressure and the pressure on heart reduces. Therefore, the chances of heart attack are also reduced. Even breathing in an atmosphere that has smoke from other smokers also makes you a passive smoker and thereby pose the same problems of heart like that of an active smoker.
- Reduce weight: Even a few extra kilos of weight on your body can be very bad for your heart health. These few extra kilos can increase the levels of bad cholesterol and thus lead to heart attack. Try to reduce your weight by including healthy food items in your diet. Try to eat more of homemade food than outside food, incorporate fresh fruits as your snack, and eat baked chips or pop corn in place of fried chips. Consuming five small meals in a day rather than three full meals can also be helpful. Also, try to control the portion of your food and try to eat food with the proper mindset.
- Limit drinking alcohol: Drinking small amounts of alcohol may be beneficial for increasing the HDL (good) cholesterol level but the benefits are not ample enough to promote the usage of alcohol. Too much of alcohol can lead to several health issues like high blood pressure, kidney failure, heart failure, and other diseases.
So, stop wondering how to lower LDL cholesterol levels and continue with the life style changes that you have incorporated along with the medications and strive your journey on the path of a healthy life. However, it takes some time to lower the bad cholesterol level and if the lifestyle changes do not suffice then consult a doctor who could recommend medication to decrease the LDL cholesterol.