How to reduce your bad cholesterol

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Found in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, as well as flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts, omega-3s can help improve heart health.  photo : ILLUSTRATION: FREEPIK

Reducing bad cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, is crucial for maintaining a healthy heart and preventing cardiovascular diseases. What your cholesterol levels should be and what a good target level for you depends on things like your age, whether you have any health conditions and your risk of cardiovascular disease. Reducing bad cholesterol often involves a combination of lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication. The following are at least three major ways to lower your bad cholesterol “3C”:

 Change your Dietary Habits
 Eat heart-healthy foods: Focus on consuming foods that are low in saturated fats and trans fats. Replace them with healthier fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
 Increase soluble fibre: Foods high in soluble fibre help good cholesterol levels. Examples include oats, barley, beans, fruits (especially apples, oranges, and pears), and vegetables.
 Consume more omega-3 fatty acids: Found in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, as well as flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts, omega-3s can help improve heart health.
 Eat more nuts: Almonds, walnuts, and other nuts can improve good cholesterol levels.
 Increase plant sterols and stanols: Found in fortified foods like certain margarines, orange juice, and yogurt drinks, these substances help good cholesterol levels.

 Change your lifestyle:
 Exercise Regularly: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise a week. Activities like brisk walking, running, cycling, and swimming are effective.
 Maintain a Healthy Weight: Losing excess weight can help lower LDL cholesterol levels. Even a small amount of weight loss can make a significant difference.
 Quit Smoking: Smoking cessation improves high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels, which can help lower LDL cholesterol indirectly.
 Alcohol Drinking Limitation: Excessive drinking can increase LDL cholesterol levels. So, you need to follow the alcohol drinking limitation for your health strictly.
 Manage Stress: Chronic stress can negatively impact cholesterol levels and overall heart health. Practise stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, and other relaxation methods.

 Consult with Medical Doctors
 Regular Health Check-ups: Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider can help monitor cholesterol levels and ensure that you are on the right track with your cholesterol-lowering ways.
 Regular Medications: If lifestyle changes aren’t enough, your doctor may prescribe medications to help lower cholesterol levels. You may need to take medicines regularly.
Implementing these lifestyle changes can significantly impact your cholesterol levels and overall cardiac health. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before making any major changes to your diet or exercise routine, especially if you have underlying health conditions. In addition, please always consult with your healthcare provider before making significant changes to your diet, exercise routine, or medication regimen. They can provide personalized advice based on your individual health needs and risk factors.

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