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Good Cholesterol Foods: Can They Raise HDL? — an article on the Smart Living Network
July 7, 2009 at 12:56 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Good Cholesterol Foods: Can They Raise HDL?

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We've heard it all before; good cholesterol versus bad cholesterol. It is a constant struggle to keep our cholesterol levels at an optimum level. The question remains: can good cholesterol foods can actually help raise our HDL levels? What are some other ways to maintain good cholesterol levels?

What is good cholesterol?

Good cholesterol is HDL (high density lipoprotein), while bad cholesterol is LDL (low density lipoprotein.) HDL helps protect you from cardiovascular disease. Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance in your body, and is found in every cell. It is a type of fat known as lipid. It is crucial for day to day functioning of the cells.

Why is having good HDL levels significant?

The higher your HDL cholesterol, the less bad cholesterol you will have in your blood. Good cholesterol picks up excess bad cholesterol in your blood and takes it back to your liver, where it is then disposed of. HDL plays an important role in protecting your heart, and low levels of HDL could increase your risk for heart disease.

What are considered good cholesterol foods?

Good cholesterol foods are beneficial fats (oils from peanuts, soybean, corn, cottonseed, olive, and canola) HDL promoting foods (red wine, beans fish, onions, soy products, and orange juice) and soluble fiber (from grapes, apples, and citrus foods). The good fats usually improve blood cholesterol level. Unsaturated fats are considered good and are derived from plants (vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds.) The two categories are polysaturated fats and monosaturated fats. Polysaturated fats come from sunflower, corn and soybean oil. Polysaturated fats come from peanut, canola, and olive oils.

What are some strategies for raising good cholesterol?

  • Herbal supplements.
  • Drug therapy.
  • Lifestyle changes.
  • Consuming good cholesterol foods.

What about Niacin?

Niacin is in the B vitamin family and has been used to raise good cholesterol levels. It converts carbohydrates into sugar. Your body then uses that for energy. Niacin also has been known to keep your skin, hair, eyes, nervous and digestive systems healthy. Niacin can be acquired through the foods that you eat, or as part of a daily multivitamin.

What are some cholesterol lowering herbs and nutrients?

  • Ginger (herb)
  • Olive leaf (herb)
  • Green tea (herb)
  • Turmeric (herb)
  • Guggulipid (herb)
  • Policosanol (nutrient)
  • Chromium polyniconate (nutrient)
  • Niacin (nutrient)

What other things can I do to raise my cholesterol levels?

  • Exercise.
  • Lose Weight.
  • Cut out the trans-fat products.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Add soluble fiber to your diet, such as oat bran or rice bran.
  • Add alcohol (in moderation) to your diet.
  • Add whole grains to your diet.
  • Add garlic.
  • Add foods rich in natural antioxidants.
  • Increase the monosaturated fats in your diet.

Watching your cholesterol is an important part of maintaining good overall health. The more you know the better off you are! Keeping your HDL levels high will keep your heart healthy and body in the best possible working condition.

Sources:

http://heartdisease.about.com/cs/cholesterol/a/raiseHDL_2.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/niacin/CL00036

Photo Credit: itsnotmadeasy

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