Cholesterol and Health
Having high cholesterol is a precursor to many health problems especially those related to the heart. Everyone in their thirties and more should be watchful of their cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that deposits over the arteries and veins. It is obtained from animal sources of food. The body needs some quantity of cholesterol as it is an important part of hormones and other biochemical processes but too much of it can lead to heart diseases. This is because excessive amounts of cholesterol react with other substances in the blood and form plaque which sticks to the walls of the arteries, narrowing them down and in more severe cases, blocking them completely. This leads to heart attacks.
10 Common Cholesterol Mistakes to Avoid
- Skimping on Exercise
The surest way of keeping your cholesterol in check is through regular exercises. Many people fall prey to high cholesterol because they have a sedentary lifestyle. Stay active and make physical activity a consistent part of your routine. You could choose between walking, jogging, yoga, aerobics or some form of dancing. A minimum of 45 minutes at least three to four times a week will keep your cholesterol in check.
- Going Fat-free
Many people begin following a completely fat-free diet when diagnosed with high cholesterol in order to bring down their cholesterol levels. While saturated and Trans fats are really harmful to the body, polyunsaturated and unsaturated fats are beneficial for the system and can even help in reducing cholesterol levels. Olive, dry fruits, sunflower seeds, avocados, and canola oil are some good sources of unsaturated fats. Instead of stepping off the fat bandwagon completely, choose healthy fats and in moderate amounts to keep your body functioning properly.
- Skipping Regular Checkups
Since high cholesterol doesn’t exhibit any symptoms, the only way to be sure about your cholesterol readings is by getting yourself tested regularly. Most people realize with a shock that they have been speeding towards a heart disease only after it is too late. It needs a simple blood test to get your cholesterol levels checked. Skipping regular checkups is another mistake that one must avoid in case of high cholesterol.
- Carry the Weight Around the Waist
Belly fat is one of the worst things that can happen to the body as it signifies eminent heart problems. It is responsible for reducing the good cholesterol in the body and raising the levels of bad cholesterol. Exercising and eating a healthy diet are the only ways to lose the weight around the waist. Yoga exercises and Pilates are dependable forms of exercise to lose the girth around the stomach. Diet control is also necessary as belly fat is a result of an unhealthy diet of junk and processed food and a diet rich in saturated fats.
- Eating Too Much Junk Food
Junk food and processed food are highly detrimental to health. They are rich in preservatives and Trans fats which add to high cholesterol. The saturated fats in this kind of diet reduce the levels of HDL or good cholesterol thus proving to be a double whammy. Weight gain because of consuming junk food is tougher to control and lose because it deposits over the organs. Abstain from processed foods, colas, burgers, pasta, cakes, cookies and opt for a healthy diet that is rich in fruits, raw vegetables, and whole grains.
- Not Weeding Out Sugar and Alcohol from Diet
High cholesterol is not just a result of a diet rich in saturated and Trans fats but even sugar and alcohol consumption have a huge role to play in high cholesterol readings. If your cholesterol levels are not tapering off even if you have been abstaining from fats, look into the hidden sugar that is part of our bread, beverages etc. alcohol also adds to cholesterol levels. Watch out for the number of drinks and their frequency to control high cholesterol. Consuming large quantities of alcohol can lead to heart failure, stroke, and high blood pressure.
- Not Being Regular with Cholesterol Medication
Cholesterol medications have proven to be an effective method to reduce cholesterol levels. Once the levels reduce a bit, many people go off medications or become irregular with them. These medications are not a matter of choice and taking them irregularly will lead to serious complications.
- Dieting Off and On
To lose weight and reduce cholesterol levels, many people turn to the latest fad diet. The cumulative negative effects of dieting off and on are substantial and one of them is high cholesterol levels. This is because no diet can be sustained over a period of time and once, we get off the diet rollercoaster, we end up eating all kinds of foods to satisfy our cravings. The result is more weight gain. Instead of dieting, make sustainable lifestyle changes like eating a fruit every time you feel like eating something sweet or drinking more water. Start small and build up a healthy lifestyle over a period of time.
- Having Your Cholesterol Medications with Juice
Consuming your cholesterol medication with breakfast juice, especially grapefruit juice, is bad for the health. The liver makes more cholesterol at night and it is a good idea to take your statins or cholesterol medications in the evening to keep the levels under control.
- A Diet Rich in Saturated and Trans Fats
Eating a diet that includes butter, ghee, fried food etc. is rich in saturated fats which are responsible or high cholesterol numbers. Reduce your dependence on these in your food and switch to low-fat milk and low-fat yogurt.
Exercise regularly, watch what you eat and consume good fats to reduce high cholesterol levels. Eating junk and processed food, skipping medications and not getting regular checkups are common mistakes that must be avoided by those who have high cholesterol.