HDL Cholesterol - High Density LipoProteinsHDL Cholesterol is also known as the good cholesterol, because it seems to provide some protection against heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, experts think that HDL helps remove cholesterol from the arteries through the liver, where it's passed from the body. Some experts also think that HDL removes excess cholesterol from plaque built up in arteries, thus slowing the buildup.
The National Cholesterol Education Program has presented goal HDL cholesterol levels, which are as follows:
HDL Cholesterol (mg/dl)
Raising your HDL
There are many ways to help raise your HDL levels. In fact, as you will see, many of the same factors that reduce LDL levels will also increase HDL Levels. The following list will help you get started.
Lifestyle Changes - Stopping smoking, starting to exercise and, if you are overweight, losing weight are several ways to raise your HDL cholesterol level.
Soluble Fiber - will decrease total cholesterol, as well as raising HDL levels. It also helps with diarrhea, constipation and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Foods high in soluble fiber include oats, brown rice, fruits like apples, oranges and plums and vegetables like peas, potatoes, carrots and broccoli.
Trans Fatty Acids - These are caused by hydrogenation, which is a process that allows vegetable oils to last longer. Unfortunately, they have a tendency to lower HDL cholesterol and raise ldl cholesterol. You will need to check the nutrition labels on your food packages and look for either trans fats (not many seem to include these) or partially hydrogenated oils. A quick check through my kitchen showed the following foods listing partially hydrogenated oils:
While that may not say much about the healthy focus of the foods in my house, it does give you a good idea of the variety of foods that can contain trans fats and/or partially hydrogenated oils.
Alcohol - Several clinical studies have shown that one or two drinks can raise your HDL levels. Drinking more has no added effect on your cholesterol levels and may in fact cause other issues that would offset the good gained from a higher HDL level. In fact there are some people who could develop problems even at the one or two drink level. Check with your physician before making a change like this to your lifestyle.
The higher your HDL Cholesterol levels, the lower your chances of a heart attack or stroke, so get started now.
Lower-Your-Cholesterol.net is not dispensing medical advice. Questions about your own cholesterol levels should be addressed to your physician.
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