High cholesterol levels are now found in younger age groups and many young adults in their thirties may have high levels of cholesterol. High levels of cholesterol can lead to blockage of the blood vessels and can cause heart attacks and stroke.
Simple life style changes can help in reducing levels of cholesterol and in preventing cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke. Some of these steps are listed below
- Saturated fats found in red meat and full-fat dairy products increase the level of cholesterol. Hence reducing the consumption of red meats and dairy can help in reducing the (LDL) cholesterol also known as the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol or the “bad” cholesterol.
- Trans fats are found in processed
foods and in foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. They are
found in margarines, cookies and in deep fried foods that are cooked in
previously used, repeatedly heated oils. Trans fats are extremely notorious for
increasing the levels of cholesterol. Young adults should try and avoid the
sources of these trans fats.
- Foods rich with omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, other fish, herring, walnuts and flaxseeds are heart protective.
- Soluble fibre should be Increased in the foods as it causes a decreased absorption of cholesterol. High content of soluble fibre is found in oats, kidney beans, apples, Brussels sprouts and pears.
- Exercise should be included in the daily routine and this helps in the increase in the levels of HDL or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol also called the good cholesterol.
- Young adults should quit smoking as smoking increases the risk of heart disease.
- A healthy weight should be maintained and if one is overweight even by a few pounds the risks of heart disease and cholesterol disorders are increased.
- Although drinking red wine is good for the cholesterol and is heart protective, it is advisable to reduce the over all consumption of alcohol and drink only in moderation.