Cholesterol is an essential component of every cell in our body, but is considered as villain to our diet. It is a wax like substance made by the liver and plays imperative role in the normal functioning of body only when it is in control. However, at times our bodies make more cholesterol than we require, and this surplus cholesterol keeps circulating in the bloodstream. High levels of cholesterol in the blood can block the blood vessels and increase the possibility of heart diseases and stroke. By making some simple changes, one can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise “good” HDL cholesterol for a healthy life.
Indians are at high risk of suffering from cholesterol based diseases all because of the food we consume. The preparation of Indian cuisines makes it rich in cholesterol. We use a lot of oil, ghee, sugar and spiceswhile preparing the food, which are harmful for our health.
So what can we do to beat cholesterol naturally? Few easy modifications (listed below) in our routine life can make major differences.
- Limited consumption of red meat: It is advisable to use de-skinned meat as skin is a concentrated source of cholesterol, fats and additional calories. Avoid makhani gravy or preparations with lot of oil. Opt for grilled, baked or tandoori dishes as they consume much lesser oil than their gravy variants. Chicken and fish are better option
- Use Olive oil: Olive oil contains antioxidants that can bring down LDL cholesterol without moving HDL cholesterol level. It is recommended that consuming about two tablespoons (about 23 grams) of olive oil a day gives tremendous heart-health benefits
- Omega 3: Omega 3 fatty acids increase HDL (good cholesterol). Rich source of Omega 3 is found in fish, flaxseeds, nuts and almonds
- Being Physically Active:Physical activity helps you control your weight and can reduce chances of developing other conditions that may put a strain on heart, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. It also reduces stress, which is a major factor in heart disease. It is advised to do regular 30 minutes exercise or play sports or indulge in brisk walk
- Garlic: The ingredient which adds flavour to our food also adds flavour to our health. It lowers cholesterol, prevent blood clots, reduce blood pressure, and protect against infections. Try for two to four fresh cloves a day
- Tea: Black tea is great defence against LDL cholesterol levels. It is advised to have one cup of black tea daily.
The article has been contributed Ms. Kanchan Naikawadi, Preventive Healthcare Specialist, Indus Health Plus.