It’s common knowledge that being healthy and fit improves one’s health and affects their daily life. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2022), being physically active does not only improve everyday physical activities but also improves brain health, strengthens bones and muscles, and reduce risks of diseases, especially heart disease and cardiovascular disease.
Importance of physical activity and diet for a healthy lifestyle
Most people improve their health by enrolling in an exercise program and performing different types of exercises not just to improve their physical appearance but to stay healthy and lessen the risks of becoming sick. Usually, most engage in aerobic exercise that involve moderate intensity exercise. Moderate intensity aerobic activity reduces the risk of heart disease and improves blood pressure and cardiovascular health. Moreover, aside from being active, one’s diet contributes to their health.
The major culprit for most heart disease or cardiovascular disease is a sedentary lifestyle. Exercising regulary, beginning with low intensity exercises or simply brisk walking, is your passport to a healthier life.
Understanding the role of fats in a healthy diet
Having a proper diet promotes a healthy lifestyle. Aside from eating green food, there are more things to consider when preparing a healthy plate. However according to the World Health Organization (2020), the increase production of processed food, rapid urbanization, and lifestyle change often lead to a shift in dietary patterns.
The organization added that adults are recommended to take at least 400g of fruits and vegetables per day, energy intake through fat and free sugars, and less than 5g of salt.
Most people would consider fats as the primary enemy when it comes to losing body weight and becoming fit. But are fats actually bad for you?
Fats (also called as essential fatty acids) are nutrients and are essential part of one’s diet since the body can’t make it by itself. But like most things, there should be limits. Health researchers claim that rather than adopting a low-fat diet to achieve lower cholesterol and strengthening diabetes mellitus risk reduction, it’s more crucial to focus on eating “good” fats and avoiding “bad” fats.
(The Nutrition Source, 2019) Good or Unsaturated fats can be taken from food such as vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and fish. It is therefore a misnomer that “fat is the primary enemy in diet” because good fat actually lowers the risk of diseases.
Bad fat, on the other hand, is commonly known as trans fats, which increases the risk of diseases, even when eaten in small quantities. Processed food is rich with this kind of fat. Saturated fats, however, should only be consumed in moderation as they can negatively impact health. Saturated fats can be found in red meat, butter, cheese, and ice cream. The mix of carbohydrates and different fats can increase one’s ldl cholesterol levels and impact on blood pressure.
Impact of cholesterol on health
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is found in our cells. There is a popular belief that cholesterol is bad as LDL cholesterol makes up most of the cholesterol in our body. Contrary to that, cholesterol is not a “bad” substance as it helps the body produce hormones and vitamin D and also helps in digesting food. (MedlinePlus, 2020). Like fats, there are good and bad cholesterol.
That said, too much blood cholesterol levels can lead to diseases which is why it is crucial to keep track of your cholesterol levels, high cholesterol is often times caused by unhealthy eating habits and lack of physical activity.
Unlike other types of lipids, reducing cholesterol can be a little tricky since it can’t be exercised off, sweat out, of burned during workouts or intense physical activities.
There are available medications, however, that can improve the cholesterol levels in the blood and mitigate the effects of cholesterol to the body. Lifestyle changes should also be considered when improving cholesterol levels.
Ways to improve cholesterol levels through lifestyle changes
First and foremost is by consuming heart-healthy food. This includes reduced intake of saturated fat, eliminating trans fats, eating food rich in omega-3, and increasing intake of food rich in soluble fiber.
Although this looks too much to do, and observe when planning a meal, being able to limit the intake of saturated fat and taking more food that can help absorb cholesterol in the bloodstream is one of the best ways to lessen the risk and heal the body from high cholesterol levels.
Second is to exercise more. Cholesterol can’t simply be improved just by merely exercising, but being able to perform physical activities can help increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol or ”good” cholesterol. Engaging in physical activities daily like brisk walks, riding a bike, and playing sports can help improve the levels of cholesterol in the body. (Mayo Clinic, 2022)
Third is to quit smoking and limit drinking, it is not uncommon that smoking and drinking alcohol has their fair share of negative impacts to the body. Not to mention that smoking puts you at a risk of heart disease. Drinking alcohol have been linked to higher levels of HDL cholesterol, but the damages far outweigh these benefits. Too much intake of alcohol may lead to serious health problems including high blood pressure and heart diseases.
Losing weight is also a great way to lessen levels of cholesterol, making a few small switches such as drinking water instead of cola, moderation in salty and sweet food intake can help improve your body’s overall health. Adding more physical activities in your daily routine is also a great way to lose weight and may lead to lower cholesterol.
Importance of small changes and motivation for improving cholesterol levels
All said, observing a proper and healthy diet with regular exercise can drastically improve the body’s cholesterol level and lessen cardiovascular risk. Small changes add up, incorporating more physical activities in daily routine and choosing the healthier meal can greatly improve cholesterol levels. Being able to use our bodies, by mere walking, riding the bike, playing sports can contribute a lot to our health.
Overall, it is safe to say that staying motivated boosts the progress of healing from cholesterol. It can be said that aside from weight, diet, daily activities, we should also consider other factors that may affect our body.
The importance of mental and emotional health in overall health.
Mental and emotional health is as important as ensuring we eat good food and exercise frequently. Motivation plays a huge role in performing daily tasks, and being able to stay motivated is crucial for healing from cholesterol fat.
That said, being able to take care of our body by eating the right type and amount of food, engaging in a more active lifestyle, and staying motivated to switch things up and make life-changing efforts in managing cholesterol. Keeping away from food that produces “bad cholesterol” or low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) saves you from coronary heart diseases, heart attacks, and stroke.
It is interesting, though, how cholesterol can be managed just by making a few changes and “better choices.” It can be argued that the best exercise for cholesterol fat is by making small changes that matter. You don’t have to enroll in a gym. Instead, build a daily routine that is practical and healthy. Walk your dog after school, play with friends on weekends, plan your meals — these are just some of the things that can contribute to a healthier lifestyle.
At the end of the day, we only have one body. So we might as well love it.
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