Science of late has revealed that people with high cholesterol, which is a condition called hypercholesterolemia, have this condition not only because of years of slamming down Big Macs and greasy French fries. More and more, we are discovering that high cholesterol has a lot to do with heredity. Yep, your genes are often the deciding vote as to whether you have to live a life trying to reduce cholesterol or not.
But what is cholesterol, and why do we need to reduce the cholesterol in our blood? Well, cholesterol, very simply, is a kind of fat called a lipid. Our livers make our own cholesterol, but we also get cholesterol from certain foods we eat.
If you have high cholesterol, there is no doubt your doctor will tell you to first try to reduce cholesterol in your diet by avoiding high-fat foods, especially those high in saturated fats. This means cutting out the fried goodies that we all love. No more deep-fried chicken-fried steaks slathered in cream gravy. No more funnel cakes oozing grease. However, you can’t eliminate all the fat in your diet. You need some to live healthily, including Omega-3 fatty acids, which you get when you eat fish.
However to reduce cholesterol in your diet and blood, you should switch from products that contain saturated fats to those that contain unsaturated fats. Fats from fish, nuts and vegetable oils are healthier than the fats from animals.
Also avoid “trans fats” to reduce cholesterol in your blood. These are in many processed foods including margarine, prepackaged cookies, crackers and other snack foods. Fresh or homemade is always better. Be sure to read the label on the item you are buying to see if it contains trans fats or not.
Instead of these fatty foods, to reduce cholesterol in your diet, your doctor will recommend that you eat foods rich in fiber. This means saying hello to lots and lots of salads, fruits and complex carbohydrates. If you read the nutrition label on the food item you are buying, you’ll see it lists the grams of fiber. Choose the option with the higher number, and you’ll get more fiber, which will reduce cholesterol in your diet and in your blood.
Another positive change you can make to reduce cholesterol is to start exercising, with your doctor’s approval, of course. Exercise has been proven to reduce cholesterol. Even a simple walk for thirty minutes every morning or evening can be beneficial to your health. Better yet, get on the bicycle and ride a few miles or join a gym. Lifting weights will build muscle, and muscle burns more calories than fat. Weight loss will help in your quest to reduce cholesterol. If you smoke, quit. Smoking can raise the levels of bad cholesterol in your blood and put you at greater risk of heart failure.
If you stop smoking, start exercising, plus you reduce cholesterol in your diet, and your cholesterol stays too high, your doctor could prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins. One brand name for such a drug is Lipitor. These drugs block the production of cholesterol that your liver is doing. They also help your body clean the bad cholesterol from your blood.