Our lifestyle has changed so much over the last few decades that it has started affecting our health...in a bad way. All those gadgets that we bought to make our lives easier have in fact made us lazy and sick. So health problems like hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol are now considered inevitable. So if you have been diagnosed with a high cholesterol problem, you are heading towards heart disease, unless you take control of your health right away.
Cholesterol can be high because of faulty diet, or heredity, or both. No matter why you have high cholesterol, it can be tackled with a change in diet. In fact, diet correction is absolutely necessary to deal with this disease. So here are a few changes that should be made to your diet if you wish to lower your cholesterol:
Reduce Fats: If you reduce the total fat intake, you will automatically reduce the intake of saturated fat, which is the real culprit in raising your cholesterol levels. To reduce fat intake, curb the use of ghee, butter, oil, cream etc in your diet. Switch to low fat dairy to reduce the intake of fat in milk. Avoid fried snacks like burgers, fries, tikkis etc.
Choice Of Meat: A heart healthy diet should focus on lean meat instead of the fat laden red meat. So chicken and fish should be preferred to red meat. As far as possible, discard the egg yolks and consume only the whites to get your protein minus the fat.
Weight Reduction: If you are over-weight, losing a little weight will help in lowering your cholesterol. So try to reduce the calories in your diet. Reduce your carbohydrate intake and try to focus on fruit and vegetables for some time.
Healthy Fat: Unsaturated fats found in nuts and seeds of sunflower, pumpkin etc contain unsaturated fats which are good for you. Try to substitute the saturated fats in your diet with unsaturated ones. So switch to soybean oil or sunflower oil for a healthy heart.
Carb Control: It is important to include carbohydrates in your diet, but equally important is to know which ones. Complex carbs found in whole grain cereals are good for you. But simple carbs found in refined foods like sugar, white rice, maida etc do you more harm than good and should be avoided.
Trans Fats: The process of "hydrogenation" of fats refers to adding hydrogen to cheap vegetable oil, in order to make it more solid. This process creates trans fats, which are even more harmful than saturated fats. Trans Fats make our arteries prone to narrowing. So trans fats MUST be avoided at all costs. Table margarine, low cholesterol butter etc are rich in trans fats, besides fried snacks sold in the markets.
Seek Help: If you follow a low fat diet for 6 months and still have high cholesterol, you need medical help. Go and see your doctor, who may prescribe medicines for your cholesterol control.