How to Tackle High Cholesterol
It would be nice if we could say that symptoms of high cholesterol included a very recognizable rash, the need to dance, or another harmless problem, but the truth of the matter is that high cholesterol has no warning signs. And this is a problem.
Why? If you explore a list of the biggest "killers" in terms of diseases and illnesses each year you would see several things directly associated with high cholesterol. There would be heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension and high blood pressure, and more. Because someone with high cholesterol might also eat a bad diet, it also means that they could be suffering from a range of other health conditions too.
So, this means we should take some time to discover just what we mean when we say that cholesterol is high.
What It All Means
Basically, cholesterol is something that the body needs to build and maintain cellular health. Technically it is known as a lipid and is a fatty or wax-like material that circulates in the bloodstream.
There are two kinds of cholesterol, and you have probably already heard about them, but they are:
LDL - this is the "bad" cholesterol that can cling to arterial walls and create blockages that result in strokes and heart attacks.
HDL - this is the good type that is going to actually protect you from heart disease.
We get cholesterol from our foods, but our bodies can also make it too. This is why some unfortunate folks are the victims of genetically triggered high cholesterol. In other words, their grandmother (who was tall and thin like they are) had horribly high cholesterol even though she ate a healthy diet.
You can also have high cholesterol because of poor dietary choices, inactivity, and smoking.
Generally, if you have high LDL and low HDL you are going to be identified as someone with a cholesterol problem. If you also show low levels of blood calcium it is likely that you are going to be put on a special diet and medication.
Fortunately, that is the last step to treating the condition. Most people can begin to adjust their levels through lifestyle changes. This could mean exercising for half of an hour each day, quitting the smoking, and dieting to lose some weight.
Dieting is usually one of the most effective techniques. In fact, studies have shown for every two pounds dropped in body weight the HDL will tend to increase measurably (averaging around .35/mg). Losing weight may not be feasible if you are already at an optimal BMI (body mass index). If that is the case, we suggest you use the following foods to help in the battle against cholesterol:
• Oats - a cup of plain oatmeal each day is known to reduce the LDL in only six weeks. This is because it contains a compound that actually absorbs the bad cholesterol from the bloodstream;
• Nuts - when you eat unprocessed nuts you are actually helping to lower the LDL level in the body. This is because most nuts have a good amount of monounsaturated fat that can combat cholesterol in the bloodstream;
• Salmon - many fatty fish are full of omega-3, and this is another fatty acid that helps to balance the cholesterol levels. If you opt for sardines you are going to be able to boost good cholesterol quickly and substantially;
• Blueberries - though loaded with fiber and nutrients, the compound in blueberries that makes them that lovely blue color is a wonderful LDL attacker. It is going to always work to lower the level of cholesterol in the body, and just a cup a day can work wonders.
Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon and writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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