This Morning's Dr Chris discusses the signs of high cholesterol
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High cholesterol doesn’t show many symptoms, so it might be difficult to tell your levels are elevated. But some of the main causes of the silent problem are a diet rich in fat food, not having enough exercise and drinking too much. If this sounds like a short description of your Christmas, you might want to give these four resolutions a try as they can lower high cholesterol levels.
The four simple resolutions that can lower high cholesterol are a diet low in saturated fats, exercising, quitting smoking and cutting back on alcohol.
Diet low in saturated fats
There are two types of cholesterol, “bad” and “good” cholesterol.
The “bad” LDL cholesterol, as the name suggests, is the one that can cause heart problems and stroke as it can narrow your arteries, explains the British Heart Foundation.
“Good” HDL cholesterol can help remove cholesterol from your body by taking it to your liver, where it gets disposed of.
Opting for foods that contain unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat can lower your cholesterol levels.
Foods rich in unsaturated fats include:
- Oily fish (mackerel and salmon)
- Vegetable oils and spreads (rapeseed, vegetable, sunflower, olive, corn, or walnut oils).
According to the NHS, you should replace the saturated fats in your diet with small amounts of foods listed above.
There’s one specific type of unsaturated fat called omega-3 fatty acids that is especially good for heart health, the Mayo Clinic reports.
These fatty acids are beneficial for your heart, cholesterol as well as blood pressure.
It doesn’t really matter what activity you pick. It can be anything from walking to dancing.
But doing just 150 minutes of exercise weekly can improve your cholesterol, the NHS reports.
The only thing the health service stresses is that it should be at a moderate intensity, which means raising your heart rate and causing you to sweat.
It’s important to keep up this practice so it might be worth joining a group or finding someone to exercise with, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The benefits of ditching cigarettes can kick in very quickly.
Within 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate can recover from the smoking-induced spike, according to the American health portal.
After a year without cigarettes, your risk of heart disease halves.
Quitting can also improve your good cholesterol and make you less likely to have heart attacks, stroke, or cancer.
Cutting back on alcohol
Especially after the festive season, you might already feel like you need a break from the liquid culprit.
Whether you’re taking part in Dry January or not, cutting back on alcohol offers various health benefits.
Drinking too much can cause high blood pressure, stroke and even heart failure.
The NHS recommends avoiding more than 14 units of alcohol a week.
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