Atherosclerosis – the hardening and narrowing of the arteries- could be one of the most dangerous silent killers. It develops gradually without showing any clear symptoms and triggers many serious health problems, including stroke and heart attack. Is it possible to prevent it, while we don’t know when it comes? There are some risk factors that can lead to atherosclerosis. We can control those risk factors to inhibit the progression of atherosclerosis. These are 5 simple ways that can be done in personal level. They do not cost much, but they surely demand strong commitment.
- Healthier lifestyle. Bad habits -like smoking, drinking alcohol, and lack of exercise- increase the risk of atherosclerosis. Therefore, changing unhealthy lifestyle is a must and considered as the most effective way to slow or maybe stop the process of atherosclerosis. It is better to quit smoking or not to start it, moderate the alcohol intake, and start doing regular exercise.
- Healthy diet, by limiting your consumption of saturated fats and trans fats, can reduce the accumulation of cholesterol in the blood. The main sources of saturated fats are from animal products like red meat, whole milk, cheese, ice cream, and butter. But some plant-based products also contain saturated fats, especially in coconut oil, coconut milk, palm kernel oil, cocoa butter, and palm oil. Trans fats can be found in fried foods and packaged foods, such as cookies, crackers, and chips. For a healthy diet, you can consume more foods containing unsaturated fats like olives, fish, and nuts. Unsaturated fat is a good fat that help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol while also boosting HDL (good) cholesterol.
- Monitoring your blood sugar and cholesterol levels also important for early anticipation. People who have diabetes and high cholesterol levels will be more likely to develop atherosclerosis. Knowing your risk of developing atherosclerosis can help you determine further preventive action.
- Limit your consumption of high sugar foods since it can raise your triglycerides and lower your HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol). Consuming high fiber foods, like whole-grain foods, may help lower your cholesterol.
- Weight management is the key to avoid obesity. For the best result, you can combine regular exercise and a calorie-controlled diet.