Coronary heart diseases are affecting many Americans. Health officials are making a conscious effort to make people aware of their lipid profile and trying to educate at-risk people make lifestyle changes to improve their lipid profile.
Though too much cholesterol in the bloodstream contributes to heart diseases, small amount of cholesterol in the blood is necessary to produce bile salts and vitamin D. Cholesterol is also responsible for producing hormones and plays an important role in the balancing of hormones especially in women. Cholesterol are of two types, LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. In layman’s language, LDL cholesterol is bad cholesterol and HDL cholesterol is good cholesterol. Diets rich in saturated fat and trans-fatty acids raise the LDL or bad cholesterol in the blood. Meat, dairy products, pre packed products like potato chips, canned food are high in saturated fats. The high levels of LDL cholesterol can result in the formation of plaques on the artery walls, that may eventually lead to narrowing of blockages resulting in clot formation, no blood flow and thereby raising the risk of heart diseases. The HDL or the good cholesterol extracts cholesterol particles from the artery walls and transports them to the liver where it is disposed through the bile. Fish and nuts are high in HDL cholesterol.
To combat high levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream it is essential to have a dietary change. Citrus fruits and vegetables like carrots provide dietary fibers which helps in lowering LDL cholesterol. People with high LDL cholesterol may also benefit from a fiber-rich diet like soy proteins, almonds, oats, olive oil and barley. Reduce the intake of deep fried food. Try to use vegetable oil for preparing deep fried food. Limit the usage of butter; instead you may consider using margarine. Steaming, braising, boiling or baking food will not only enhance flavor but are also heart healthy. Sometimes high cholesterol runs in families. Lack of physical activity is another important factor contributing to the rise of cholesterol level in the body. Exercise should be a part of the plan for cholesterol management because regular exercise will help in lowering LDL cholesterol. It is recommended, that a sensible diet and moderate intensity physical activity will go a long way for keeping the cholesterol levels in control.