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How should I improve my HDL and LDL levels?

Q: I am 31 years old and recently got my cholesterol levels checked. I gave the sample in the morning without having breakfast. The results are - Total cholesterol: 215 mg/dL; triglycerides: 81 mg/dL; HDL cholesterol: 31 mg/dL; LDL cholesterol: 163 mg/dL; cholesterol/HDL Ratio: 6.9 ratio; Non- HDL cholesterol, calc: 184 mg/dL. Is my cholesterol high? I am a vegetarian and do brisk walking daily for 1 hour. What are your recommendations?

A:Your Bad cholesterol (LDL) is high and good cholesterol (HDL) is low. I would suggest you repeat the test at another lab. Usually 2-3 tests are required be to be concordant before you can be labelled as having high cholesterol. If there is no family history of heart attacks you should try life style changes first. Dietary fats in Indians come mainly from cooking oils and milk products. So limit your total oil consumption to 1 tablespoon / day. Sunflower/ soya / kardi, etc should be fine. Avoid deep frying and reuse of oils. Limit milk products to butter milk with the butter removed, low fat (<2%) milk or yoghurt. Fibre in fresh vegetables and whole cereals is good. Avoid excess carbohydrates too especially easily absorbed foods like sugars & white rice and excess of tubers, like potatoes.

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