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How your lifestyle affects your cholesterol levels

by Rabiyya Khan
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How your lifestyle affects your cholesterol levels

Just like your actions define your personality, your lifestyle choices have a big impact on your health. From every morsel that you put in your mouth to your hobbies, your lifestyle has a major bearing on your body fat levels and cardiovascular health.

It is imperative to understand that your cardiovascular health is a byproduct of a lot of factors. Some of these factors like genetic predisposition, gender and age are non-modifiable. But there are others that are under your control-your lifestyle. Let’s talk about it in detail.

Diet

If your diet is loaded with saturated and trans fats, you are on the surest path towards high cholesterol. Unsaturated fats and omega 3 fats are what you need for a healthy heart. Avoid excessive meat, whole-fat dairy products, and partially hydrogenated oils. Replace them with natural oils like olive oil, sunflower oil, and canola oil which are rich sources of unsaturated fats. Foods like avocados, nuts, sesame seeds, fish, etc. have a healthier fat profile and are beneficial for you.

Physical activity

It goes without saying that a sedentary lifestyle is directly proportional to fat accumulation in the body. The calories you consume need to be spent through physical activity, otherwise, all the excess calories pile up and blow your body’s natural balance of cholesterols out of proportion.

Take that flight of stairs instead of the elevator. Walk to the next block instead of taking the cab. Light aerobic exercises like walking, running, jogging, cycling, swimming, etc. can help keep you active to burn all those excessive fats from your body to keep your heart and vessels healthy.

Weight

Excessive body weight has been linked with disruption of cholesterol metabolism. High body weight is linked with insulin resistance which results in decreased cholesterol removal and increased cholesterol production. In order to keep a healthy cholesterol profile, it is imperative to control body weight. With the right diet and consistent exercise, it is not hard to maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI).

Smoking

Smoking has disastrous effects on lipid metabolism in the body. Excessive smoking has been shown to lower the level of HDL cholesterol-the good fats-in the body. On the other hand, it elevates the level of bad fats including LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. The net effect is the deterioration of cardiovascular health. For optimal cardiovascular health, avoid cigarette smoking, and vaping.

Alcohol use

Alcohol consumption has been linked with disturbance of cholesterol metabolism with the deposition of excessive fats in the liver. Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol levels) has been linked with excessive alcohol use. Therefore, avoid drinking too many alcoholic beverages for a healthy lipid profile.

Bottom line

Adopting healthy lifestyle choices like a healthy diet and regular exercise can help control your cholesterol levels from skyrocketing in the first place. If you are on cholesterol-lowering drugs, comply with your medication and regularly follow-up with your GP for a healthy lipid profile.

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