LDL cholesterol or bad cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease. Fortunately, unlike other risk factors, you may be able to reduce your LDL cholesterol levels if they are already high. In healthy range, LDL cholesterol levels should be under 160 mg/ dL. If your LDL cholesterol levels are higher than that, then you are in high LDL levels and you should reduce it to prevent heart disease and other complications. If you want to reduce your LDL cholesterol, these methods have been proven to help.
- Weight Loss and Healthy Diet
Having a high body mass index (BMI) not only puts you at a risk for heart disease and other health problems, it also can be associated with high LDL levels. Research has shown that losing even few pounds (5% to 10%) can help lower LDL levels.
Although studies have shown that losing weight can helps reduce LDL cholesterol, eating a healthy diet is also helpful. Foods that are low in saturated fat and high in soluble fiber have been proven to be helpful in reducing LDL cholesterol levels.
The combination of weight loss and healthy diet may contribute to 20% reduction in LDL levels.
Exercise is not only good for losing weight, but it also help lower your cholesterol levels especially the “bad” cholesterol. Aerobic exercises, like running jogging, biking, and swimming, seem to benefit most by lowering cholesterol about 5% to 10%. Another form of exercise, like walking, yoga and weight training, also has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels. However, these forms of exercise has not extensively as aerobic exercise.
- Quit Smoking
Smoking cessation not only has a great impact on the level of HDL or “good” cholesterol, it may also slightly lower the LDL cholesterol levels. Smoking is associated with high cholesterol levels and the formation of harmful oxidized LDL cholesterol is called LDL. Oxidized LDL is a form of LDL that contributes to atherosclerosis. Several studies have shown that quitting smoking can lower LDL cholesterol levels to around 5%. Research also shown that cholesterol levels and oxidized forms of LDL will be reduced as soon as you quit smoking.
Read also: 9 best tips to help you quit smoking
- Drink Alcohol in Moderation
Although moderate consumption of alcohol was significantly raise levels of HDL cholesterol, it also can lower LDL cholesterol by around 4 to 8 percent. Moderate consumption means one drink a day for women, and two drinks per day for men. The study also showed that drinking more than three alcoholic drinks a day can really improve your chances of getting heart disease.
Our lifestyle plays a key role in what kind of health we may keep. One has to remember is to maintain a balance between diet, fun and fitness.