Cholesterol levels creeping upwards puts you at higher risk of heart diseases. Many healthcare practitioners suggest cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. But we can’t overlook the serious side effects of using statins.
The good news – you can control cholesterol, without relying on medications. Lifestyle changes can help lower your cholesterol and keep your heart healthy.
Nuts are rich in vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, fiber, protein and healthy monounsaturated fats. They contain heart-healthy sterols that keep the body from absorbing bad cholesterol. A handful or 30-35g nuts, including walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pine nuts, and peanuts a day lower cholesterol by 5%.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are low in saturated fats and contain cholesterol-blocking molecules – sterols and stanols. The list of heart-healthy fruits and vegetables include: leafy greens, carrots, tomatoes, blueberries, yellow squashes, plums and few more with a vibrant hue. Try other valuable sources of soluble fiber, like apples, prunes, sweet potato, ladies finger and aubergene.
Ditch Trans Fats
Food manufacturers add hydrogen to liquid fats to create solid trans fats. Trans fats extend the shelf life of packaged baked goods and retain the reusability of fast foods – however, they can shoot up your cholesterol. To avoid eating them, check the labels on food packages. Pass the product by if you see on the label “partially hydrogenated” in its ingredient list.
Avoid Refined Sugar and Grains
Replace refined flour with whole-wheat flour and white rice with brown/wild rice. Old-fashioned oatmeal is also a healthy choice for the heart. But don’t go for quick-cooking versions of oat, as it processes out much of its fibers.
Don’t substitute fat with sugar. Low-fat salad dressings and sauces are flavored with a high amount of sugar content. So, be careful while choosing these products. Better get a higher-fat version without trans fats than a sugary product.
Fish oil is a powerhouse of omega-3 fatty acids and nutrients. It helps reducing inflammation and blood clotting, and lowers triglycerides and increases HDL cholesterol. Choose only high-quality fish oils tested to be free for mercury and other contaminants.
Physical exercise improves blood circulation and strengthens the body. It also plays a significant role in lowering triglycerides and increasing the good cholesterol (HDL). Make sure you combine it with healthy diet habits and weight loss to reap the maximum benefits.
Spice It Up
Dust your salads, sprouts, cappuccino, and other dishes with spices. Herbs and spices like garlic, black pepper, ginger, coriander, and cinnamon not only flavor your food but also improve cholesterol. Eating one garlic clove every morning could lower cholesterol up to 9%.
Get a Cat
A study carried out at the University of Minnesota found that cat owners are at the lower risk of heart attack than those who don’t have cats. Frequencies in the cat’s purr are good for healing tendon, ligament, muscle, and joint injuries. These are also good for muscle strengthening and reliving cardiovascular diseases.
Last but equally important; quit smoking and laugh more!