Combatting High Cholesterol

by Owen Jones

Cholesterol can be highly dangerous. Not in lesser quantities and not even all cholesterol, because there are two types. One is good for you, because it helps mop up the other one which is damaging for you in substantial quantities. HDL cholesterol is termed the good cholesterol and LDL the bad cholesterol, although we require some LDL in order to regulate some of our bodily functions

Too much LDL in our blood streams can result in congestion which in turn would lead to higher blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. So what can you do about it? There are three prongs you can use to combat cholesterol: diet, exercise and medication. Some people do not want to be on medication every day for life, but some do not mind.

So, the first thing to do is get into the routine of exercising each day. The minimum exercise you need to be doing is walking for thirty minutes each morning and each evening. You may think that you do not have an hour a day to spare, but you probably do.

If you have a lunch break, what do you do in it? Eat? Read the paper? Have a talk? OK, why not choose a greengrocer's that is fifteen minutes walk away and go and buy an apple each day? In the evening, you could go for a walk with your spouse or your dog. In that fashion, you have just thirty minutes to find in order to stay healthy.

How can food reduce your cholesterol? Well, there is cholesterol in almost everything we eat, so it is a question of remembering which sort of cholesterol is in which food and being discriminating. In general, this means avoiding food that is high in saturated fats and trans or hydrogenated fats and eating more food that has mono- or poly-unsaturated fats.

This is not as difficult as it sounds anything you buy in a tin or a tub will or ought to have the kinds of fat written in the contents list. You will merely have to learn which fresh food is healthy for you. Basically, red meat and dairy products are not particularly healthy for you. Try swapping skinless chicken and fish for beef and pork. Drink skimmed milk, if you have to drink milk and give up butter.

In fact, some margarines have been specially prepared to reduce cholesterol and, yes, they do work, it is not a rip-off. It is frequently said that liver and eggs are high in cholesterol, but according to the British Heart Foundation, our bodies cannot process this cholesterol, so it is OK to include them in a low cholesterol diet.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are the real allies in the battle against high cholesterol. Bananas are particularly good and so are citrus fruits. Nuts are also healthy for you and in particular almonds and walnuts. Tofu and other soya bean foodstuffs are useful and will even lower cholesterol.

Roughage and fibre are very good for reducing cholesterol and one of the best meals you can have is a dish of porridge in the morning for breakfast.

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