Coronary arteries or the Heart arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood to your heart. These arteries can never get fatigued because if they do the heart won’t be able to function as it does. The heart pumps blood day and night, this tiny organ (size of your clenched fist) works very efficiently to pump blood throughout the body. However; there are two enemies that try to hinder the supply of blood to your heart by blocking these coronary arteries; they are Cholesterol and Triglycerides.

You must have heard of the term coronary artery disease or simply heart blockage. It is the narrowing or blockage of coronary arteries and is usually caused by atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is the build-up of cholesterol, triglycerides, and other fatty deposits (called plaques) inside the arteries. These plaques can clog the arteries or damage the arteries, which limits or stops blood flow to the heart muscle which can lead to heart attack, stroke, and much more.
Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood. They are the most common type of vegetable fat.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is found in all the cells in your body. Some amount of cholesterol is required by your body to synthesize hormones, vitamin D, etc. Therefore; cholesterol in the body is not always bad. But it’s important to know that your liver makes all the cholesterol you need and the cholesterol coming from foods is something which adds on to the extra amounts which if not burnt (metabolized) leads to an increase in cholesterol levels in the blood. Both Cholesterol and Triglycerides are synthesized by the liver in enough amounts. Therefore, food adds to the extra amount. Triglycerides mainly come from plant oils, nuts, oilseeds and are commonly referred to as vegetable fats, so the next time you come across an advertisement stating zero cholesterol oil you should know that no vegetable oil contains cholesterol but triglycerides. Other than the oils you consume, triglycerides are also contributed by an excess amount of calories in the diet. If you regularly eat more calories than your body burn, especially from high-carbohydrate foods, they might lead to high triglycerides. Animal fats are rich sources of cholesterol, e.g.; meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, cheese, etc.

Ideal levels of Cholesterol and Triglycerides

ParameterNormal ValueTarget at SAAOL
Total Cholesterol<200 mg/dl<130 mg/dl
Triglycerides<150 mg/dl<100 mg/dl
High density lipoprotein (HDL)>40 mg/dl25% of Total cholesterol

Healthy habits to naturally lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels

Maintaining a healthy heart requires a conscious approach towards yourself. Not only your diet but also your activity pattern, emotional well-being, stress management all play an integrated role in the prevention and management of coronary artery disease.

Here are a few healthy tips to follow in order to keep a check on your cholesterol and triglyceride levels-

1.) Eat more fiber- Fiber helps in removing excess cholesterol from the body. Fruits, vegetables, whole cereals, pulses are rich in fiber, make sure to include them generously in your diet daily.

2.) Maintain a healthy body weight- Being overweight/obese can affect lipid metabolism and poses a risk of metabolic syndrome. It’s important to maintain an appropriate weight for your height to prevent obesity and its underlying complications.

3.) Limit intake of extra calories- Extra calories in your body is converted into fat and contribute to the triglyceride pool. Try avoiding processed foods and foods rich in simple sugars.

4.) Exercise regularly: Regular exercise improves lipid metabolism in the body and boosts the levels of HDL (good cholesterol) in the body.

5.) Avoid visible fats: Restrict the intake of visible fats in your diet. The invisible fats present in whole cereals, pulses, spices, etc. are enough to fulfill the daily fat requirements of a cardiac patient.

6.) To avoid cholesterol: No animal foods should be consumed as they are rich in cholesterol, one can have fat-free milk and its products but that too in restricted amounts (i.e. up to 200 ml od double-toned milk or up to 500 ml of skimmed milk).

7.) Establish a regular meal pattern: A regular meal pattern decreases insulin resistance and leads to improved lipid metabolism. Therefore; it is cumbersome to maintain a regular eating pattern.

8.) Limit alcohol intake and quit smoking.

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