Hyperlipidemia describes cholesterol levels that are too high. In the United States, an estimated seventy-one million adults have elevated cholesterol. Of these patients, only about one out of three have control over the condition. There are two cholesterol types: 'bad' (LDL) and 'good' (HDL) cholesterol. For optimal health, it is essential for both types of cholesterol to be in balance. There are numerous ways to improve cholesterol levels and maintain a healthy balance. Many of these methods are things patients can easily control, and they include lifestyle and diet modifications. Once patients get their cholesterol levels checked, they can start right away with making the right changes for healthy cholesterol levels.
Those who are overweight tend to have higher bad cholesterol levels, and their good cholesterol also tends to be lower. Losing just ten percent of excess weight can have a positive impact on total cholesterol levels. Why excess weight and high cholesterol are commonly seen together is not fully understood. However, experts believe it is because overweight individuals tend to eat a lot of foods high in cholesterol. When making the dietary changes needed to lose weight, individuals tend to eat foods lower in cholesterol. They also tend to eat more fiber due to increased vegetable and fruit intake. This is beneficial because fiber can absorb bad cholesterol.
Increase Dietary Fiber
When individuals increase their dietary fiber intake, they are helping their body reduce bad cholesterol. Fiber can absorb low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, preventing it from accumulating in the body. Soluble fiber appears to be the most effective for this purpose. This type of fiber seems to have an impact on short-chain fatty acids in the bloodstream. Scientists state it seems to stop the uptake of harmful fats, including saturated fats. This is how medicines that lower cholesterol work, so fiber may be a viable alternative. This type of fiber also appears to reduce triglyceride levels and improve the body’s ability to metabolize fats and cholesterol. Soluble fiber is present in vegetables, fruit skins, and whole grains.
Choose Healthy Fats
Individuals who choose healthy fats tend to have lower bad cholesterol levels and higher levels of healthy cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats are a good healthy choice because they have a direct effect on reducing bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol. Walnuts, almonds, and other nuts are very high in monounsaturated fats.
Another critical nutrient in nuts is phytosterols, which are similar to cholesterol from a structural standpoint. This nutrient helps to block the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines. Increasing good cholesterol can be accomplished by eating more salmon and other fatty fish. These contain long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been directly linked to a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, and this syndrome is partially characterized by imbalanced cholesterol.
Eat More Fruits And Vegetables
A diet that causes individuals to eat more vegetables and fruits is generally always a good idea. Since these foods are not contributing to increased bad cholesterol, they typically always benefit total cholesterol balance. However, there are also certain vegetables and fruits that may directly contribute to cholesterol control. Strawberries, apples, citrus fruits, and grapes are particularly beneficial due to containing soluble fiber known as pectin. This fiber is largely present in their skin and rinds, but all elements of these fruits have this fiber. Avocados are also rich in fiber and monounsaturated fats, both of which help balance cholesterol levels. All vegetables are ideal due to their fiber and antioxidant levels. Those especially rich in pectin include okra, carrots, eggplants, and potatoes. Dark, leafy greens like kale and spinach are other good options due to them containing carotenoids, an antioxidant.
Low good cholesterol and high bad cholesterol are common among individuals living a sedentary lifestyle. This is because not being active causes a decrease in good cholesterol, and when this cholesterol is low, bad cholesterol can accumulate in the arteries. Scientists also believe exercise stimulates the enzymes responsible for essentially flushing bad cholesterol out of the blood. When patients exercise, and these enzymes go to work, the body is expelling bad cholesterol. Exercise also helps to increase lipoprotein size, and when the size of these proteins increases, it is harder for lipoproteins to get into the arteries and accumulate. Patients with high cholesterol simply need to get active to alleviate this issue. It is recommended for all individuals to exercise at least three to four times weekly. Each exercise session should be about forty minutes and be comprised of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic exercise. This includes activities, such as swimming, running, biking, and brisk walking.