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We’ve heard enough times that eating junk food which is fried or contains preservatives is bad. However, most of us still don’t understand how such foods are bad for our health.
Basically, such foods raise our cholesterol levels. Now, cholesterol is a fat-like substance that’s found in our cells. It’s actually extremely important for our body because it helps build healthy cells. However, too much of it can eventually prove to be fatal since high cholesterol raises our risk of heart diseases.
Well, trans fats and saturated fats that are found in food products like red meat, microwavable popcorn, potato chips, full-fat dairy products, and frozen foods can raise your cholesterol level. These also happen to be some of the most widely consumed foods. Hence, people all across the world are facing the issue of high cholesterol.
Cholesterol can affect people irrespective of age but most instances are reported amongst the older generation. If your parents are suffering from high cholesterol levels, you probably already know how difficult it is to strike a balance between a healthy diet and a good lifestyle. High cholesterol not only puts them at an increased risk of heart diseases but other health complications as well.
We spoke to Dr TS Kler, Chairman, Fortis Heart and Vascular Institute, Fortis Hospital, Gurugram & Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj to understand what we can do to help our parents manage high cholesterol levels. Here are 7 important things the doctor wants us to keep in mind:
No one can stress enough on the importance of a healthy diet. To ensure our parents stay healthy, we need to look into what they’re eating. Dr Kler suggests simple diet changes that can improve their health:
a. Increase the intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, healthy protein sources such as low-fat dairy products, low-fat poultry, fish/seafood, and nuts.
b. Try to avoid saturated fat. Substitute it with polyunsaturated or monosaturated fats.
c. Avoid fried foods in their diet as much as you can. Go for boiled, baked, and steamed foods.
d. Limit their intake of sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meats. Watch over their overall calorie intake.
Dr Kler says, “Make them move more and sit less. Exercise is effective when it comes to lowering bad cholesterol levels. At the same time, it also increases good cholesterol levels.” So, try to engage them in some sort physical activity 3 to 4 times a week.
“Weight reduction by lifestyle measures and healthy diet has profound effects on overall cardiovascular health. Truncal obesity caused by abdominal fat is an independent risk for cardiovascular diseases and increases bad cholesterol,” says Dr Kler.
If your parents have the habit of smoking, you need to put a stop to it. Smoking increases atherosclerosis. Cholesterol plaque in the blood vessels leads to heart attacks.
Dr Kler says, “Mental health is one of the most important aspects for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Make your parents try calming hobbies like yoga, meditation, breathing exercises or even gardening. This can help them reduces their stress levels.”
Reduced stress level will also ensure a healthy sleep cycle which is necessary to keep their heart healthy.
If your parents also have ailments such as diabetes, or hypertension along with high cholesterol levels, make sure you are getting them checked often and managing other risk factors as well.
Last but not the least, provide them support. Dr Kler says, “ Friends and family can improve their health. Give them the support they need for a positive change.”
So, keep these things in mind to ensure your parents stay healthy and their cholesterol level stays under control.