What is your cholesterol level? If the last time you checked it for more than six years ago, and then everything was fine, do not relax. The level of the substance that may cause blockage of blood vessels often increases with age. Cardiologists advise people over 20 years old to check cholesterol levels at least once every five years. And if a person is at risk for heart disease, it more often.
If your total cholesterol levels greater than 200 or low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the "bad" cholesterol) is greater than 100, you need to take care of his decline. It's not as difficult as it might seem. Some lifestyle changes and, if necessary, medication can quickly lower your cholesterol.
Set a goal
So, you know what to lower cholesterol ... but to what value? The answer to this question depends on a number of factors - whether you or your family heart disease, enter you at risk for factors such as overweight, high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking.
If the risk is high, doctors recommend to reduce LDL to 70. If the risk is average, the normal level to be 130. If the risk is low, the level should be below 160. In recent years, doctors try to prevent start as early as possible, especially if a person has two or more risk factors.
Discuss with your doctor the need for medication
Changes in lifestyle will benefit anyone with elevated cholesterol. But if you have a high risk of cardiovascular disease, you may want to take medication to lower cholesterol - check with your doctor. Medication can quickly reduce the level of cholesterol that does not negate the need for a healthy lifestyle.
There are several types of drugs that lower cholesterol, such as niacin, resins, fibrates, but most commonly prescribed statins. They reduce cholesterol levels by 20-50%.
Regular exercise not only reduce the level of "bad" cholesterol, but may increase "good" cholesterol up to 10%. To do this, fit and moderate exercise, such as brisk walking.
Some doctors recommend daily sorokapyatiminutnoe a walk after dinner. Another option - buy a pedometer and set a goal to take 10,000 steps per day. If you have a sedentary job, every hour is interrupted for five minutes and move.
Whatever type of exercise you choose, most importantly - the regularity. If you can not deal with, seven days a week, do exercise at least five days out of seven.
Avoid saturated fats
In the past, doctors believed that lowering cholesterol is necessary to reduce the consumption of foods rich in cholesterol, such as eggs. But now it turns out that cholesterol coming from the food, not the main culprit. Recent studies show that increasing the level of cholesterol in the blood to blame saturated fats.
Nutritionists recommend to significantly reduce the use of saturated fats. It is better to replace the "good" fat - instead of butter and margarine to use olive oil or canola oil, eat less meat and more fish.
Eat more fiber
Vegetables, fruits, whole grains - not only sources of heart-healthy antioxidants
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But also dietary fiber, which reduces cholesterol. Especially useful for cholesterol lowering soluble fiber. Its effect on the digestive tract can be compared with a sponge, absorbing cholesterol. Sources of soluble fiber -bobovye, oatmeal, barley.
Fish and fish oils containing omega-3 fatty acids, cholesterol lowering. The use of food additives
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Containing fish oil, proven by numerous studies. Fish oil is safe, but you should consult with your doctor if you are taking money that reduce blood clotting.
Experts recommend eating fish two or three times a week. It is best to eat salmon, it most omega-3. But even canned tuna useful. Fish -The most valuable source of omega-3 fatty acids, but fish oil
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as additives also useful. Plant sources of omega-3 - soybeans, canola, flaxseed, walnuts, but the fatty acids contained in fish, more useful.
Drink in moderation
Moderate alcohol consumption may increase levels of "good" cholesterol by 10%. Moderate is considered one serving a day for women, two - for men. But considering all the risks associated with excessive consumption of alcohol, experts do not recommend to increase the use of, or start drinking if you're not used to drinking alcohol.
Drink green tea
Instead of soft drinks drink green tea. Studies have shown that substances contained in green tea help to reduce "bad" cholesterol. In a recent study, people who took green tea extract, have reduced LDL by 4, 5%.
Studies show that regular consumption of nuts leads to a moderate reduction in cholesterol levels. Particularly useful are walnuts and almonds
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. But nuts are high-calorie foods, do not eat more than one handful a day.
Eat useful sandwiches
Instead of butter, use spreads fortified with stanols - these phytochemicals reduce cholesterol.
Do not smoke
Smoking reduces the level of "good" cholesterol and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.