High cholesterol or dyslipidaemia is a condition in which there is an excessive amount of cholesterol in the blood. It is a waxy substance found in fats (lipids).
It is a necessary substance for the proper functioning of the body, but too much of it can cause a build-up of plaque in the lumen of arteries, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
A variety of factors can cause dyslipidemia, and managing high levels typically involves making lifestyle changes and may also involve taking medication.
You will have a better chance of improving your lipid profile by following tips from health experts.
1. Exercise daily to improve your lipid profile
Regular physical activity can increase the level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as “good” cholesterol, in the blood. HDL helps remove low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, from the bloodstream.
Exercise can also decrease the amount of triglycerides in the blood. In addition to this, exercise can also help you lose weight, which can also help lower cholesterol levels.
Health experts recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise a week or a combination of both. You can spread these two types of exercises throughout the week.
2. Eat a healthy diet to reduce cholesterol level
Taking a healthy diet can help to reduce high cholesterol levels. Try to add foods that are low in saturated and trans fats.
Some specific dietary changes that can be effective include increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. You also need to limit your intake of saturated and trans-fat-containing foods, such as fried foods, processed snacks, and high-fat meats.
Additionally, incorporating foods high in fibre, such as vegetables, oats and barley, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish and flaxseeds, can help lower your cholesterol levels.
Moreover, consuming the right amounts of phytosterols and stanols found in nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables can also be helpful.
3. Add more oily fish to lower your cholesterol level
Adding more oily fish to your diet can help to lower your cholesterol levels.
Fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring, are high in omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids have been shown to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL). LDL can build up in the arteries and increase the risk of heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids also increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) that helps remove LDL from the body.
Additionally, oily fish also contain high levels of vitamin D, which also aids in regulating cholesterol levels in the body.
4. Lose weight to reduce cholesterol level
Losing weight can help to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.
When you are overweight or obese, your body produces more low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. As a result, LDL cholesterol can build up in the walls of your arteries, increasing your risk of heart disease. However, losing weight can reduce LDL cholesterol levels in your blood, lowering your heart disease risk.
Losing weight can also increase the amount of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in the blood. HDL cholesterol helps remove LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream, so higher HDL cholesterol levels can also help reduce your risk of heart disease.
5. Add more fibres to your diet to reduce cholesterol level
Soluble fibre, in particular, is effective in lowering your cholesterol. In addition, fibres reduce the absorption of fatty and bile acids from the intestine.
Foods high in soluble fibre include oats, barley, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.
It is essential to consult your doctor before making significant changes to your diet, especially if you are taking medications. This is because certain chemicals in the foods can interact with your medicines.
6. Quit smoking to reduce cholesterol level
Smoking can contribute to abnormal lipids levels by causing damage to the lining of the blood vessels, which can lead to the build-up of plaque.
When plaque accumulates in the blood vessels, it can reduce blood flow and increase the risk of heart disease. Stopping smoking can help to reduce the risk of developing dyslipidaemia and heart disease by improving the health of the blood vessels and decreasing inflammation.
7. Stop drinking too much alcohol
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can increase LDL (harmful) levels in the blood, increasing the risk of heart disease. To reduce cholesterol levels, it is recommended to limit alcohol consumption to moderate levels or avoid it altogether.
According to American dietary guidelines, women can take one drink per day and up to two drinks per day for men.
8. Take Medications if needed
Suppose lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough to lower lipid levels. In that case, medications such as statins, niacin, and bile acid sequestrants may be prescribed by a doctor. The choice of drug depends on the lipid profile, underline causes and the elevated types such as LDL or triglycerides.
The Bottom Line
Many factors affect your lipid profile, ranging from diet and environment to genetic and liver functions.
Cholesterol is an essential substance as it helps build cell membranes. However, always remember that having a normal lipid level is good, but too much is a warrant for cardiovascular diseases.