If your friend consumes a diet rich in bad fats such as trans fats got from hydrogenated oils and saturated fats found in red meat and ghee, butter, cakes, biscuits and other junk food items then exercise alone will not help regulate her cholesterol levels.
The first steps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels are –
• Eating healthy foods that contain healthy fats
• Consuming foods that have cholesterol lowering properties
• Avoiding foods that contribute in cholesterol accumulation
• Keeping weight under control, through regular exercise
Another fact to keep in mind is that high cholesterol levels in the body are not always linked to obesity and/or diet. The human liver also produces some of the cholesterol that circulates in your body. In some people the liver malfunctions and produces cholesterol in excess of what the body needs. This gets amassed in the arteries, choking and blocking them. So, food is not always the culprit for health problems.
Allopathic medicines are known to lower cholesterol levels quickly. The most widely used drug for lowering cholesterol is called 'Statin' Statins are prescription drugs recommended by medical specialists. The most common of these is Atorvastatin (Lipitor). However, these are prescription drugs and should not be taken without consulting a doctor. Use of statins over a period of time can cause liver damage, so the drug must be used only as prescribed.
Cholesterol levels can be lowered by adding certain foods to the diet. These include –
• Fresh fruits and vegetables, especially apples, oranges, peaches, grapes, green leafy veggies, pumpkin and bottle gourd. These foods are rich in fibre – particularly soluble fibre that moves around in the blood and absorbs bad cholesterol lurking in the blood stream
• Seeds such as Flax seeds, sesame seeds, melon and pumpkin seeds are rich sources of healthy fats that fight HDL
• Olive oil is known to improve LDL levels
• Sunflower oil, canola oil, rapeseed and sesame oils are good substitutes for olive oil
• Oats can effectively lower HDL
• Whole grain products are better than refined flours
• Chickpeas, kidney beans and pulses are all good for lowering bad cholesterol
• Walnuts and almonds – are a wonderful source of omega 6
• Fish – especially salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel are packed with heart friendly omega 3 fatty acids
• Soya – in all forms must be included in the diet
• Lean meat
• Low fat milk
Limit intake of processed and packaged foods and eat more of natural plant products in their purest form.
Omega 3 supplements can also be taken to bring down HDL levels.
Make lifestyle changes where processed foods are eliminated from the diet and substituted with healthier options. 30 minutes of exercise a day, also help regulate cholesterol levels.
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