Tag Archives: cholesterol

Be Healthy: Add fiber to your diet

fibre foodsThe word fiber comes from the Latin word fibra, meaning fiber, thread, string or filament and dietary fiber refers to nutrients in the diet that are not digested by gastrointestinal enzymes. Fiber is also known as roughage. It is the indigestible part of plant foods that pushes through our digestive system, absorbing water along the way and easing bowel movements.

Eating fiber has many benefits for your health. They help prevent constipation. They fill you up without giving too many calories and thus help in weight management. People with type 2 diabetes can lower their blood sugars by increasing the fiber intake.  The consumption of soluble fiber has been shown to protect you from developing heart disease by reducing your cholesterol levels.

People with diabetes who consume a lot of fiber tend to need less insulin than those whose fiber intake is low.

Add more fiber and veggies to your diet

  • Choose whole fruits instead of fruit juice. Fruit has fiber in every part of its structure and can be eaten at any time of the day
  • Eat a variety of vegetables everyday
  • Make chapattis using whole wheat flour
  • Brown rice has more fiber than white rice
  • Start the day with high fiber whole grain cereal
  • Try using more peas, beans and lentils. Add beans and legumes to soups
  • Add flax seeds to salads
  • Store vegetables in a visible place in your refrigerator. Keep on hand washed, cut raw vegetables such as Carrots, Cucumber, Broccoli, Radish, red and yellow capsicum in a zip lock pouch as ready snack
  • Add raw or lightly cooked vegetables into Pasta, Rice and Omelets
  • Pile sandwiches with Lettuce, Spinach, chopped Cabbage, Onion, Cucumber, Tomatoes and Capsicum
  • Prepare Chapatis with raw vegetable stuffing
  • Add raw vegetables to curd and prepare different raitas
  • Add chopped vegetables like cucumber, tomato, onion, carrot, to roasted grams ,puffed rice, sprouts,  etc and make delicious chaats.

Cholesterol: How much is too much?

Cholesterol, a term everyone despises. But how and at what levels does cholesterol influences your health. Read on…..

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a form of fat our body uses to protect nerves, make cell tissues and produce certain hormones. Internally it is made by liver cells and we also get cholesterol from the food we eat (like eggs, meats and dairy products).

Are there different types of cholesterol?

Yes. Cholesterol travels through blood in different types of bundles, called lipoproteins. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) delivers cholesterol to the blood and High-density lipoprotein (HDL) removes cholesterol from the bloodstream. This explains why too much LDL cholesterol is bad for the body, and why a high level of HDL is good.

When should you start having cholesterol levels checked?

You can’t tell if you have high cholesterol without having it checked as there are no physical signs of the same. All adults, 20 years of age and older should have their cholesterol checked every 5 years. If your cholesterol level is high or you have other risk factors for heart disease, you may need to have it checked more often.

A blood test known as a lipid profile is administered to get cholesterol checked.

What does your cholesterol level mean?

Total cholesterol

  • Less than 200 mg/dL is best.
  • 200-239 mg/dL is borderline high.
  • 240 or more means you are at risk for heart disease.

LDL cholesterol

  • Below 100 mg/dL is ideal for people at high risk of heart disease.
  • 100-129 mg/dL is near optimal.
  • 130-159 mg/dL is borderline high.
  • 160 or more means you are at risk for heart disease.

HDL cholesterol

  • Less than 40 mg/dL means you are at high risk for heart disease.
  • 60 or higher greatly reduces your risk of heart disease.

Why is a high cholesterol level unhealthy?

While some cholesterol is needed for good health, too much cholesterol in your blood can increase your risk for heart disease, including heart attack or stroke. Your body may store the extra cholesterol in your arteries (blood vessels). Over time, this build up can become hard and make your arteries narrow or might even completely block an artery. If this blocked artery supplies blood to heart, a heart attack can occur or stroke in case this blocked artery supplies blood to brain.

What can I do to improve my numbers?

It is a good idea to have your cholesterol checked regularly if there is a problem. Here are some steps you can take to improve your cholesterol levels:

  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Exercise regularly. Brisk walking for 30 minutes/day is a good goal
  • Lose weight if needed. Losing just 2.5 to 4.5 kg will show favorable changes in your lipid profile.
  • Avoid saturated (red meat, whole milk dairy products, coconut oil, cocoa butter) and Trans fats (fried foods, commercially baked goods, processed foods, margarines). Also limit your overall cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg per day and 200 mg if you have heart disease.
  • Eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet with plenty of fresh veggies, whole grains, and fruits
  • Include good amount of ω-3 and ω-6 fatty acids in the diet as food (flaxseed, canola oil, walnuts, soybean oil, lettuce, broccoli, spinach, vegetable oils like corn, sesame, sunflower) or supplements

Cholesterol is also affected by blood pressure and blood glucose. If your blood glucose or blood pressure is high, your cholesterol numbers may be high as well.

Do I need to take medicines to lower cholesterol?

Depending on your risk factors, if healthy eating and exercise don’t work to lower your cholesterol level, your doctor may suggest medicine.

Talk to your doctor about whether you may be at higher risk for diabetes and heart disease. Then take steps to lower your risk so you can live a longer, healthier life.