Raise Good Cholesterol
How to do it
When insurance policies renew and wellness programs begin, Biometric screenings are often performed to find out where you are at in terms of weight, BMI, blood pressure, blood glucose, triglycerides, total cholesterol and HDL and LDL levels.
These numbers are then used as a basis for, insurance premium discounts as well as to motivate you to make changes in your diet and lifestyle to improve your overall wellness.
Happy vs. Lousy
In case you don't know, HDL, (sometimes called the Happy kind) and LDL (the Lousy stuff) are lipoproteins that transport cholesterol. An HDL level of 50 or above is associated with a lower risk of inflammation and heart disease. Conversely, an LDL level over 100 is correlated with a higher risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack.
There are a number of factors that can affect how your body handles cholesterol, not the least of which is your genetics. However, there are some things you can do to help raise your HDL levels and keep those LDL levels and total cholesterol numbers at a lower number.
-Maintain a healthy weight. If your BMI is higher than 25 and certainly if it is over 30, you will need to trim down. This one step should help all of your numbers to improve.
-Add aerobic exercise at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes. This could be a brisk walk, a workout on your elliptical trainer or treadmill, swimming and other physical activities that rev up your heart rate. Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any aerobic program.In addition to improving your numbers, aerobic exercise will improve your mood as your brain chemistry changes for the better.
-Stop smoking. Most people already know that smoking is bad for your health, but it also may decrease your HDL levels and increase your LDL levels, causing you to be at greater risk for coronary artery disease and heart attack.
-Reduce saturated fats in your diet in favor of more monounsaturated fats, such as those found in olive oil, nuts and avocado.
-Limit or eliminate trans-fats in your diet. Trans fats are found in many processed foods including cookies, crackers, fried foods and margarine and other vegetable spreads. Check the label for "hydrogenated" fats before buying packaged foods.
-Eat more Omega-3 fats found in sardines, salmon, omega-3 eggs, flax seed, chia seed and walnuts.
Click here for information on Omega-3 fats.
-Add soluble fiber to your diet in the form of fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds and oatmeal.
-Eat colorful fruits and vegetables that contain phytochemicals, which seem to have a protective effect against heart disease. There is some evidence that drinking cranberry juice will help raise your HDL levels, and this is most likely due to the phytochemicals in this tart, red berry.
-Lower consumption of added sugars in your diet. A recent study showed that people who got at least 25 percent of their daily calories from any type of sweetener had more than triple the normal risk of having low HDL levels than those who got less than five percent of their calories from sweeteners.
-Drink wine moderately. Consuming 1 or 2 drinks of red wine per day will help raise HDL levels significantly. If you do a little research you will find that you can get organic "green" wine that will fit in with your desire to raise good cholesterol and also to pursue a healthy eating lifestyle.
Caveat: Due to the problems associated with excessive drinking, if you don't already drink, or if you have a problem with alcohol, trying to raise good cholesterol is not sufficient reason to consume alcohol in any form.