A customer recently asked me what he could do to raise his low HDL “good cholesterol” levels. HDL stands for High Density Lipoprotein and is not a type of cholesterol, but a carrier of it. A low ratio of HDL / Total Cholesterol of less than 10 is a strong risk factor for cardiovascular disease (over 24 is ideal).
I have previously written about the role of insulin levels in optimizing cholesterol production [#83 October 2010]. A ketogenic diet will quickly bring high cholesterol levels back to normal, and a diet low in simple carbs (sugar and refined grains) will help to keep it there.
Here are some other ways you can increase your HDL:
• Aerobic exercise – at least 30 minutes 5 days a week
• Strength training exercise – even building lower body muscle helps
• Quit smoking
• Maintain optimum weight – obesity increases LDL and reduces HDL
• Drink red wine with meals – 1 glass daily for women, 2 for men
• Increase omega 3 with fish and fish oil supplements
• Avoid trans fatty acids – in hard margarine and some processed foods
• Use coconut oil for cooking and olive or avocado oil for salads
• Add soluble fiber to your diet – see last week’s article
• Niacin (vitamin B3) has been shown to increase HDL
• Calcium supplement – 1g daily raised HDL 7%
• Increase anthocyanins found in red and purple foods like plums, grapes, purple cabbage, eggplant, cranberries and raspberries
• Add raw nuts for their essential fatty acids – 2 oz a day
• Dark chocolate – 2.5 oz daily increased HDL 11-14%
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner. See this article on my website for links to sources and further reading.