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10 Ways to Increase your HDL "Good" Cholesterol


Oct. 31, 2010

What many people don't know is that some diet and lifestyle changes may help to increase HDL cholesterol levels.

Here are ten ways:

Orange Juice
Drinking three cups of orange juice a day increased HDL levels by 21% over three weeks, according to a small British study (at 330 calories, that's quite a nutritional commitment). This study could be highlighting an effect from high-antioxidant fruits and vegetables. Stay tuned in the years to come.

Niacin
There is some evidence niacin (vitamin B3) helps increase HDL. Michael Poon, MD, chief of cardiology at the Cabrini Medical Center in New York, says people with low HDL levels might benefit from taking 500 milligrams of niacin each day, building up to 1,000 milligrams a day. But he warns that supplemental niacin "can have some side effects and is not for everybody, particularly for people who already have high HDL levels. "He says anyone taking niacin supplements should be monitored by a doctor. Short of supplements, many foods contain niacin as well. Here are a few:

Food                                                        Amount of niacin
White-meat chicken, 3.5 oz cooked 13.4 mg
Mackerel, 3.5 oz cooked 10.7 mg
Trout, 3.5 oz, cooked 8.8 mg
Salmon, 3.5 oz cooked 8 mg
Veal, 3.5 oz cooked about 8 mg (ranges from 6.4-9.3)
Dark-meat chicken, 3.5 oz cooked 7.1 mg
Lamb, 3.5 oz cooked 6.6 mg
White-meat turkey, 3.5 oz cooked 6.2 mg
Ground beef, 3.5 oz cooked 5.3 mg
Peanuts, 1/4 cup 5.3 mg
Pork, 3.5 oz cooked about 4.8 mg (ranges from 4.1-5.4)
Peanut butter, 2 tablespoons 4.4 mg
Beef steak, 3.5 oz cooked about 4.1 mg (ranges from 3.6-4.5)
  
Glycemic Load
The glycemic load is basically a ranking of how much a standard serving of a particular food raises your blood sugar. And as the glycemic load in your diet goes up, HDL cholesterol appears to go down, according to a small recent study. Along these lines, the NCEP report recommends that most of our carbohydrate intake come from whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and fat-free and low-fat dairy products. These foods tend to be on the lower end of the glycemic scale.

Choosing Better Fats
Replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated fats can not only help reduce levels of "bad" cholesterol, it may also increase levels of "good" cholesterol, according to the Food & Fitness Advisor newsletter from Cornell University's Center for Women's Healthcare.

Soy
When substituted for animal-based products, soy foods have heart health benefits. Soy products are low in saturated fats and high in unsaturated fats. Soy products are also high in fiber. An analysis found that soy protein, plus the isoflavones found in soy "raised HDL levels 3%, which could reduce coronary heart disease risk about 5%," says Mark Messina, PhD, a nationally known soy expert. Messina notes that soy also may lead to a small reduction in LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (another type of blood fat), and a possible enhancement in blood vessel function. Other studies have shown a decrease in LDL cholesterol (about 3%) and triglycerides (about 6%) with about three servings of soy a day. That adds up to 1 pound of tofu, or three soy shakes.

Enough Time
Make sure you give soy some time. An analysis of 23 studies on soy found that improvements in HDL cholesterol were only seen in those studies lasting longer than three months.

Alcohol in Moderation
Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol, especially with meals, appears to do two things to help reduce heart disease risk. According to researcher Byung-Hong Chung, PhD, it increases HDL cholesterol levels, and enhances the movement of cholesterol deposits out of cells in the artery walls.

Aerobic exercise
At least 30 minutes on most days of the week is the exercise prescription that can help raise your HDL, according to many health care professionals.

Stopping smoking
Experts agree that kicking the habit can increase your HDL numbers a bit, too.

Losing weight
Being overweight or obese contributes to low HDL cholesterol levels, and is listed as one of the causes of low HDL, according to the NCEP.

Article excerpt from WebMD

 



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