HDL cholesterol level is the most important factor in your cholesterol profile. The cholesterol hdl ratio is used to determine your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Low hdl means greater risk, and I will explain the reasons why.
The effect of cholesterol on your heart health has been distorted by bad information over the years. This is because pharmaceutical companies want to sell statin drugs, so they influenced doctors to set up guidelines that call for proscribing these drugs for lowering cholesterol levels.
The drugs do not lower cholesterol naturally, they do it by interfering with your body’s natural production of lipids, which is unhealthy and dangerous. What makes cholesterol a problem in your arteries is inflammation and free radicals which oxidize the cholesterol and turn it into hard plaques. Hdl cholesterol prevents this process, and protects you against heart disease.
How to raise increase good cholesterol
We know that HDL cholesterol functions as an antioxidant in the body. This means that it will help prevent LDL cholesterol from turning into dangerous plaques inside your arteries. This is why the cholesterol HDL ratio can predict your risk of heart disease. The higher the HDL cholesterol levels, the lower your risk.
So just how do we increase good cholesterol? We do it by diet, exercise, and using certain nutritional supplements that help boost HDL levels.
Let’s start with diet! Below are some foods that can help increase good cholesterol:
- Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines
- Raw nuts and seeds like walnuts, pecans, almonds, and flaxseeds
- Whole eggs (yes that’s right…they must be WHOLE eggs)
- Fresh raw low glycemic vegetables – especially dark leafy greens
- Oat bran
- Alcohol – 1 or 2 drinks per day maximum
These foods work in a natural way by giving your body the raw materials such as essential fatty acids it needs to raise HDL!
Nutritional supplements can also help you increase good cholesterol
- Fish oil
- Pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5)
- niacin – (vitamin B-3)
- Coenzyme Q-10
- Vitamin E-complex
- Alpha Lipoic Acid
- CLA – conjugated linoleic acid
All of these supplements help increase HDL levels, however niacin (B-3) and calcium pantothenate (B-5) are the most effective, so you should focus on them first, and add others if needed.
Exercise to raise your HDL cholesterol level
The best form of exercise is some kind of internal training. This might be circuit weight training, kettlebells, bodyweight exercises, ect. The main principle is the workouts should be brief, intense, and make your heart and lungs work hard.
Naturally, if you are older, or not on good health, you should get clearance from your doctor before engaging in strenuous exercise. You should also work into an exercise program gradually so that your body gets used to it. Never jump right into an intense exercise program. Take time to build up your exercise capacity so that you don’t overdo it.
The PACE program by Dr. Al Sears is an excellent exercise system for this!
Just what are good HDL cholesterol levels?
Remember that the cholesterol HDL ratio is very important. That determines your risk of heart attack. The table below reflects the Amercian Heart Association guidelines:
American Heart Association Guidelines
Action steps to raise for your HDL cholesterol level:
- Get your cholesterol HDL ratio tested so you know what they are to start
- Work in 3 15 minute sessions of circuit or interval training per week
- Avoid refined foods if possible – stick to raw fruits and vegetables
- Get plenty of healthy fats in your daily diet
- Supplement with niacin (B-3) and calcium pantothenate (B-5) to raise HDL
Your HDL cholesterol level is one of the best predictive markers for heart disease that we know of. HDL cholesterol protects you against heart disease, stroke, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Make it a point to get your HDL cholesterol levels checked, get them into the healthy range and keep them there. Your heart will thank you!