High cholesterol can be dangerous – it can limit blood flow, thereby increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke. What makes it even more dangerous is that for a long time, it may not show any symptoms. High cholesterol is also linked to Type 2 diabetes and hypertension. A healthy lifestyle can go a long way in controlling our cholesterol levels. Dr Shobha Itolikar, Consultant General Medicine, Fortis Hospital Mulund, says, “Your body is a temple, you must respect it and regard it. We need to follow some simple principles for a healthy lifestyle.”
Here are some useful suggestions from Dr Shobha Itolikar on taking steps to control your health and keep cholesterol levels in check:
• Heart-healthy activities: Indulge in heart-healthy activities like yoga, brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling etc. Beginners can set short-term sustainable goals. For instance, you could walk for an hour daily for 2 weeks, then escalate to jogging and then running and so on.
• Say hi to your 6 best friends every day without fail: Sunshine, Laughter, Water, Air (Oxygen), Exercise and Sleep
• Reduce Mobile Use: Ditch that mobile before bedtime to get a relaxed sleep. Good sleep hygiene also ensures a good focus at work, studies, etc. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep daily to help your body and mind rest and recharge.
• Reduce your caloric intake by including the following foods in your diet:
- Soluble fibre like oats, quinoa
- Plenty of non-starchy vegetables and pectin-rich fruits like citrus fruits, apples, grapefruits, strawberries
- Consume healthy fats like mono and polyunsaturated fats – they are present in nuts, fish, chia seeds, flax seeds, olives, avocado, etc.
• Avoid Binge Eating: Let your appetite be your guide. Do not overeat ‘permissible food’ because anything in excess is not good for your overall health. Eat sensibly, slowly, and watch the portions you eat. Avoid binge eating or stress eating. Say no to white foods like sugars, rice, bread, potato, pasta, biscuits, margarine
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• Go for regular health check-ups: Periodically, evaluate your weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, and lipid profile
• Practice stress management techniques: High levels of stress can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health. Consider incorporating stress management techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing into your routine
• Quit smoking: Smoking damages the walls of your blood vessels, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Quitting smoking can help lower your cholesterol levels.
• Be positive: Lastly, begin the day with a positive attitude.
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