Our health is paramount to every other ventures life has to offer, hence, we bring you specialist’s advice on how to bring down high cholesterol level in your body and avoid risks of heart attack, coronary artery disease and stroke.
Statistics has shown that a huge percentage of adults in Nigeria, like most countries, have high cholesterol due to unhealthy diets and habits passed on for generations and consumption of too much trans fats is largely to blame.
Ratings for Cholesterol level of the body
According to experts, each 1mmol/L of total cholesterol above the normal limit of 5.2 mmol/L is associated with a 35 per cent increased risk of death from a heart condition and a 25 per cent increased risk of ischaemic stroke – a stroke due to blockage of blood vessels.
It has become a norm for most people who grow up eating high-calorie diets everyday, unbeknownst the health risks such foods poses. But it is never too late to start eating right and join the race for a healthy habits.
Tips to reduce your body’s Cholesterol level
1. Minimise the intake of foods with trans fat
This the part where ‘less is more’ applies. Trans fat are processed foods containing partially hydrogenated fats or shortening such as pastries, cookies, tarts, pies, doughnuts, creamy bread, french fries and confectionery. Among all the types of fat, trans fat is the worst culprit in causing heart disease and stroke.
Based on the study of 80,000 female nurses, it was discovered that trans fat doubled the risk of heart disease in women, compared with those who rarely ate trans fat.
2. Avoid Deep Fried Foods
This is because the oil used for deep-frying is usually reused many times and reheating oil repeatedly at high temperature produces harmful compounds which may increase one’s risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.
It is costly for restaurants and food vendors to throw away the oil after every round of deep-frying and no authority can control the practice of reusing oil.
If you must eat that, cook it at home with a healthy oil no more than once a week and discard the leftover oil or opt for food cooked with healthier cooking methods, such as grilling, air-frying, baking, steaming, stewing, boiling and roasting.
3. Limit your saturated-fat (SF) intake.
Diets high is saturated fat is estimated to cause 31 per cent of coronary heart disease and 11 per cent of stroke worldwide. SF are present in animal products such as meat fat and poultry skin, full-cream dairy products, butter and lard.
Plant sources such as coconut milk and palm oil also contain high amounts of saturated fats. Choose unsaturated oil for cooking at home, such as canola, olive, rice bran, peanut, soya bean, corn and sunflower oils.
4. Choose lean meats
Eat leaner cuts of meat, such as loin or breast meat but avoid sausages, Chinese sausages and luncheon meat or replace meat with beans or legumes in your dishes and soups on some days. Include fish in your diet on most days, especially oily fish such as salmon, sea bass, threadfin, cod fish and mackerel as they contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
See Also: Amazing Health Benefits of Eating Fish
5. Choose low-fat dairy products
It is safer to choose low-fat dairy foods such as skimmed milk and low-fat cheese instead of full-cream dairy products. Use low-fat milk or yogurt to replace coconut milk in cooking.
6. Include more soluble fibre in your diet
Soluble fibre, such as those present in oatmeal, oat bran, barley, fruit, vegetables, legumes, beans and nuts, is able to reduce cholesterol by binding it to bile acid in the small intestines.
7. Limit your cholesterol intake
Although there is recent data to show that we do not need to completely avoid high-cholesterol foods such as eggs and shellfish, it is important to consume these in moderation. You should limit the consumption of shellfish to no more than once a week and have no more than four egg yolks per week.
For other high-cholesterol foods not fully studied, such as organ meats, which can be very high in cholesterol, it is best to avoid them or eat them only once in a long while.
8 Choose fruits and plain nuts as snacks
Rather than having potato chips, cakes, sugary fried fast foods, you can choose fruits and plain nuts as snacks instead.
9. Exercise often
Physical inactivity increases the risk of heart disease and stroke by 50 per cent. It is recommended to have 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity, such as brisk walking, sports, swimming or dancing, at least three times a week. Choose an exercise which you like to do.