The Daily Heart Beat

News, information and commentary from the heart

Raising your HDL Cholestrol

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  • Aerobic exercise
  • Lose weight
  • Stop smoking
  • Cut out the trans fatty acids
  • Alcohol. With apologies to the American Heart Association, which discourages doctors from telling their patients about the advantages of alcohol: one or two drinks per day can significantly increase HDL levels.
  • Increase the monounsaturated fats in your diet
  • Add soluble fiber to your diet
  • Other dietary means to increasing HDL. Cranberry juice has been shown to increase HDL levels. Fish and other foods containing omega-3 fatty acids can also increase HDL levels. In postmenopausal women (but not, apparently, in men or pre-menopausal women) calcium supplementation can increase HDL levels.

HDL cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol, appears to scour the walls of blood vessels, cleaning out excess cholesterol. It then carries that excess cholesterol — which otherwise might have been used to make the “plaques” that cause coronary artery disease — back to the liver for processing. So when we measure a person’s HDL cholesterol level, we seem to be measuring how vigorously his or her blood vessels are being “scrubbed” free of cholesterol.

HDL levels below 40 mg/dL result in an increased risk of coronary atery disease, even in people whose total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels are normal. HDL levels between 40 and 60 mg/dL are considered “normal.” However, HDL levels greater than 60 mg/dL may actually protect people from heart disease. Indeed, for several years, doctors have known that when it comes to HDL levels, the higher the better.

Richard Fogoros,  M.D.; About.com

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Written by heartcurrents

March 8, 2010 at 2:14 am

Posted in heart conditions

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