How to lower cholesterol level in Nigeria. In the early 1980’s, high cholesterol was a very rare case in Nigeria. It was prevalent in only 5 percent of the population.
Currently, the global prevalence is 39 percent while the prevalence in healthy Nigerian adults is about 60 percent. That is more than half of the adult population, and the prevalence is much higher among people suffering from diabetes and hypertension.
Also, high cholesterol can run in the family. If your parents or your close relatives had high cholesterol, chances are you also may be at risk for developing high cholesterol.
However, the main cause of cholesterol is the result of living an unhealthy lifestyle and eating a poor diet. In Nigeria, we have moved from a highly active industrious lifestyle to a sedentary one.
Additionally, the rapid urbanization and the introduction of western foods such as Indomie, bread, milk, sugar, processed foods, sweets, pastries, spaghetti, soft drinks and more, have also contributed to the development of high cholesterol especially in the urban population.
Equally important is that the average Nigerian has easier access to high cholesterol containing animal protein such as red meat, dairy and high carbohydrate foods now than before.
The other factors that increase your risk of high cholesterol are obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, drinking of alcohol, having diabetes and being of an older age.
The complications of high cholesterol may be quite severe. Having high cholesterol over time can cause your arteries to from plaques and harden in a condition called atherosclerosis.
This can lead to chest pain, coronary artery disease, heart attack and stroke.
However, high cholesterol can be prevented, treated and even reversed as it is a lifestyle disease. Our healthcare system in Nigeria is still quite underdeveloped and so we as citizens need to take control of our health and try as much as possible to prevent disease in general.
How To Lower Cholesterol Level In Nigeria
While your body needs cholesterol in a small quantity, having high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease, as mentioned above. Here’s what you need to know.
When you have high cholesterol, you develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. These fatty deposits make it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries and they can get clogged.
Your heart may not get as much oxygen-rich blood as it needs, which increases the risk of a heart attack In addition, decreased blood flow to your brain can cause a stroke.
Cholesterol can lead to several health conditions that can prove fatal. Although high cholesterol can be inherited, but more often that not, it’s due to unhealthy lifestyle choices.
A healthy diet, regular exercise and medication, if the condition is severe enough, can go a long way toward reducing high cholesterol and restoring your health.
Types Of Cholesterol
Cholesterol is carried through your blood, attached to proteins. This combination of proteins and cholesterol is called a lipoprotein.
You may have heard of different types of cholesterol, based on what type of cholesterol the lipoprotein carries. They are:
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol
Factors that may increase your risk of high cholesterol include:
- Poor diet
- Family history
- Large waist circumference
- Lack of exercise
- Diabetes, etc
Problems Associated With High Cholesterol
High cholesterol can cause a dangerous accumulation of cholesterol and other fatty deposits on the walls of your arteries.
These deposits can reduce blood flow through your arteries, which can cause complications, like:
- Chest pain
- Heart attack
How To Lower Cholesterol Level In Nigeria? Foods To Help Lower Your Cholesterol Level In Nigeria
Here in Nigeria, we are blessed with a lot of healthy natural foods. However, these eating strategies can help reduce your cravings for high cholesterol foods and help you reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
They also pack more of the cholesterol-smashing beta-sitosterol (a beneficial plant-based fat) than any other fruit.
Beta-sitosterol reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed from food. So the combination of beta-sitosterol and monounsaturated fat makes the avocado an excellent cholesterol buster.
No food is more fibre-rich than beans. And beans are especially high in cholesterol-lowering soluble fibre.
Eating a cup of any type of beans a day can lower cholesterol by as much as 10% in 6 weeks.
Reducing saturated fat is the single most important dietary change you can make to cut blood cholesterol.
Soy is used as a replacement for meat and cheese and helps your heart by slashing the amount of saturated fat that you eat.
Saturated fats are usually found in animal products such as whole milk, cream, butter, and cheese, and meats, such as beef, lamb and pork.
There are some plant-based saturated fats you should avoid too, notably palm kernel oil, coconut oil, and vegetable shortening.
Ancient Egyptians ate garlic for stamina; in modern times, garlic has been found to lower cholesterol, prevent blood clots, reduce blood pressure, and protect against infections.
Current research has also found that it helps stop artery-clogging plaque at its earliest stage. How?
Garlic keeps individual cholesterol particles from sticking to artery walls.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and other cold-water fish help lower “bad” cholesterol, raise “good” cholesterol, and lower triglycerides.
Salmon is an excellent source of protein because it is high in omega-3 fatty acids called EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) that are good for your heart while low in cholesterol and saturated fat.
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