Embrace Good Cholesterol


There is a misconception that cholesterol is generally bad for the health. Based on studies, there are actually eighteen different kinds of cholesterol, but doctors only categorize them either as low-density lipoprotein (bad) or high-density lipoprotein (good).


That’s right – there is such thing as good cholesterols, and you have to keep their level higher than the bad. Cardiology studies say that a higher level of HDL lowers the risk of heart attack and other diseases.


Genetics play a role in cholesterol levels. Some people have naturally high HDL, which means they need to maintain a good HDL-LDL ratio. Those with low levels, meanwhile, need to pump up their HDL by keeping an active lifestyle.


Get moving


Maintaining a proper exercise routine raises your HDL levels – that is plain truth. In case you have been a couch potato and worried to get started, studies show that it’s never too late. In fact, inactive people who manage to change their lifestyle benefits the most from exercise. For as long as you stick with your fitness regimen, you will be able to raise your HDL to healthy levels. If possible, hammer out a program with mixed activities such as resistance training and aerobics. Having variety in your exercise is likely to keep you going and help avoid boredom.


Quit smoking


Okay, this is assuming you do smoke. Cigarette smoke facilitates accumulation of LDL in your bloodstream, making it difficult for HDL to weed them out. One research conducted by Georgetown University shows that smokers who have quit smoking gradually improved their HDL levels, and thus states that quitting impacts directly and positively on HDL. Include this in your reasons-to-quit list, and see the result almost instantaneously.


Eat fat – the right kind


Foods that are rich in monounsaturated fat work well in boosting HDL. Some of these are nuts, olives, soybeans and vegetable oil. Cold-water fish like salmon are also likely to increase LDL given their high amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Saturated fat – those found in meat and dairy products – tend to promote LDL, so take every opportunity to lessen your intake. Also be wary of trans fats like those in hard oils (e.g. butter and margarine) as these do the exact reverse of what you want to achieve. They lower HDL levels while promoting LDL.


Load Up on Fiber


Pay attention to whole grains, couscous, wheat bread, fruits and vegetables as these high-fiber foods are proven to raise HDL levels. Aim to eat about twenty-five grams a day to regulate your cholesterol. For a start, get yourself a bowl of whole grain cereals with a slice of banana for breakfast.


Have a Drink


Not beer, but wine. Consuming wine in moderation has heart healthy benefits, and the most recommended variety to improve HDL is the red wine. Males may consume a maximum of two glasses a day, while females, one glass. If you are not a drinker, however, do not be pressured to do so as the alcohol content might only do you more harm than good.