A surprising number of people have very high levels of cholesterol in their blood without realising it. If you thought cholesterol was only a problem if you are middle aged or overweight, think again. Even extremely thin and young people can have elevated cholesterol levels.
The best way to combat cholesterol levels is to fight to keep the level under control. Cholesterol and fat deposits clog the arteries, which carry blood to the heart. As a result, oxygen supply to the blood gets hampered slowly. There are no symptoms, and the only symptom really is a heart attack. By then it may be too late to start the fight against cholesterol.
Don't wait for the disease to hit you before you start taking some action. It is best to be proactive at the outset and work on preventing cholesterol levels from increasing. Cholesterol is mainly a lifestyle disease, and bringing it down naturally calls for some changes to your way of life. So if you have high cholesterol or if you want to prevent developing high cholesterol, here's what you can do.
Foods which are high in saturated fats and cholesterol include animal products like meat, cheese, milk and eggs. If you eat a diet which includes a lot of these products, it makes sense for you to get a blood test. Anyone over the age of 20 should go in for a blood test at regular intervals.
You don't need to go in for any surgery or extensive medication to lower cholesterol levels. All you need to do is improve your lifestyle - which will be better for your general health as well. It is the same advice any other doctor, nutritionist or fitness expert would give you: Exercise regularly and eat low-fat, high fibre foods.
Certain kinds of fat like the fat in olive oil could actually be good for you. You need to stay away from saturated fats, which, as mentioned earlier, are fats from animals and animal products.
The first thing you should try and do is to change your lifestyle. Stop eating white bread; opt for brown bread instead. Switch to monounsaturated oils like almond oil, peanut oil, olive oil, canola oil. Flax seed oil is also very good, and though you may not be able to use it in cooking, you can use it in salads. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and exercise regularly. Even if you just go for a brisk walk for half an hour four times a week, your entire system will benefit greatly.
Some people think that simply taking cholesterol lowering medication will solve the problem, and use it as a substitute for lifestyle changes. This is not the best approach to solve the problem. If you have high cholesterol, you should always aim to lower your levels naturally, since doing so is possible and desirable. Certain medicines have side effects, and if you don't try to lower your cholesterol naturally, you may need to be on medication for a prolonged period. If you don't like the thought of chemical medication, you should know that natural medication is also available, but these too have their share of side effects.
Even though your doctor may suggest that you start taking drugs, ask him if you really need them, and if there is there any program you can be on and try out for a while before going in for medication.