Monday, February 19, 2007


I'll bet you know that there are two different kinds of cholesterol.

LDL is the "low down", "bad" cholesterol which is purported to clog our arteries and cause heart disease. LDL stands for (boring) Low Density Lipoproteins. These lipoproteins are made up of mostly fat and a little protein.

HDL, on the other hand, is made up of mostly protein and just a little fat. HDL actually prevents the cholesterol from building up along the walls of the arteries by escorting it to the liver which filters it out of the body. HDL is usually called the "good cholesterol".

According to the medical journals and cardiologists the preferred numbers of cholesterol in the blood are as follows:
LDL: less than 100mg/dL.
HDL: 60 mg/dL or higher.

Many people are confused by the numbers. It is good for the total number of cholesterol to be under 200 but the total number of cholesterol in the body is not as important as the ratio between LDL and HDL. What is desirable is a high level of HDL and a lov level of LDL. The higher the ratio - the better off you are.

The doctors usually are anxious to get us to lower our LDL but, raising the HDL in the blood can prove just as effective (assuming the LDL numbers aren't sky high).

There are ways to raise the HDL.

One way is to increase consumption of Omega 3 oils. These oils are present in oily fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring. If you don't like fish you can go for the capsules which have omega oils in them. It's important to be careful, though, to choose a brand which is know for processing the oils well and removing the poisons (which are rampant in the ocean, believe it or not).

Another way to increase HDL is by exercising 3 - 5 times a week. An average of 1/2 hour of aerobic exercise has been found to raise HDL levels.

Cutting out the trans fatty acids in the diet can also help raise HDL. These are the bad fats that are present in almost every commercially baked product on the market.

Alcohol - Believe it or not, one or two alcoholic drinks a day have been found to increase HDL.

Quit Smoking - Here the smokers have an "advantage". They can raise their HDL just by quitting!

Add two servings of soluble fiber to your daily diet. Soluble fiber can be found in oatmeal, apples, strawberries, carrotes, brown rice and legumes. This wonder-fiber both reduces LDL and raises HDL.

Weight loss also helps raise HDL but I would imagine that the weight loss will be a side product of adding the above, healthy foods into the diet.

I'm the kind of person who would rather concentrate on the "positive" than on the "negative" and all the so called "forbidden" foods. When you forbid me to eat something, I just want to go right out and eat it!!! That's why what works for me is trying to think in terms of nurturing my body and increasing consumption of tasty foods that will help me to become healthier. Hey, the more healthy food I eat, the less junk food I will consume. AND THAT'S A FACT!!!

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