High cholesterol: symptoms include hair loss and foot ulcers

High cholesterol means you have too much cholesterol in your blood. Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by the liver. It fulfills many important roles in the body, such as helping your body make cell membranes, many hormones, and vitamin D. However, excessive amounts of cholesterol can clog your arteries, increasing your risk for heart disease.

You can reduce high cholesterol level by leading a healthy lifestyle. There are several foods that are not only part of a healthy diet, they can also actively help lower your cholesterol.

The most important dietary advice is to cut back on saturated fat, which is found in fatty cuts of meat and meat products, including sausages and pies.

Replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat is essential for lowering high cholesterol levels, according to the Heart UK charity.

Sources of unsaturated fat include:

  • Vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, corn, rapeseed, nut and seed oils
  • Avocado, nuts and seeds
  • Fat spreads made from vegetable oils, such as sunflower and olive oil
  • Oily fish.

“Oily fish are a good source of healthy unsaturated fats, especially a type called omega-3 fats,” says Heart UK.

“Aim to eat two servings of fish per week, at least one of which should be fatty.”

Other key tips

Regular exercise can also lead to a marked reduction in high cholesterol levels.

Moderate physical activity can help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol, according to the Mayo Clinic.

HDL cholesterol captures “bad” cholesterol from the blood and carries it to the liver where it is evacuated.

“With your doctor’s approval, get at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week or vigorous aerobic activity for 20 minutes three times a week,” advises the Mayo Clinic.

Vigorous intensity activity makes you breathe hard and fast. If you work at this level, you won’t be able to say more than a few words without stopping to catch your breath.

“In general, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week can provide health benefits similar to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity,” notes the NHS.

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