Interpreting Hdl Cholesterol Levels
HDL levels below 40 mg/dL are associated with an increased risk of CAD, even in people whose total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels are normal. HDL levels between 40 and 60 mg/dL are considered “normal,” and do not very much affect the risk of CAD one way or the other. However, HDL levels greater than 60 mg/dL are actually associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
In other words, the dogma has been: the higher the HDL levels, the better.
While this belief is still thought to be almost always true, in recent years a fly has been found in the ointment. Drug companies have spent billions of dollars developing drugs that increase HDL cholesterol levels. However, to the dismay of all, these drugs have failed to reduce cardiac riskdespite the fact that they make HDL levels go up. Development of at least two of these drugs has now been halted. So the HDL story is more complex than scientists originally had hoped.
Stop Smoking To Optimize Hdl Cholesterol
Smoking cigarettes can lead to a number of health problems, including lung disease and cancer, and also increases your risk of heart attack. But did you know smoking can also suppress or lower those good cholesterol levels?
Smoking can reduce HDL cholesterol in many ways, including by inhibiting HDL synthesis in the first place, blocking its maturation, and speeding up its clearance and metabolism, Dr. Ahmed says. Quitting smoking can help your HDL synthesis and metabolism to go back to their natural levels so that the HDL can do its job better again.
And research agrees. A study published in September 2013 in the journal Biomarker Research found that ex-smokers had higher HDL cholesterol than smokers, noting: We conclude that quitting smoking increases HDL cholesterol, and that this increase occurs rapidly after quitting, with no clear pattern of change thereafter.
If youre trying to quit smoking, talk to your doctor about the many methods to help you through the process.
Should People With High Cholesterol Eat Fish And Seafood
For most people, it is beneficial to consume oily fish. The United States Department of Agricultures Dietary Guidelines for Americans 20202025 recommends that most adults eat at least 8 ounces of low-mercury fish and seafood each week.
On average, this gives someone 250 milligrams of DHA and EPA per day, though the exact amount will depend on the type of fish.
However, because some fish and seafood contains dietary cholesterol, people who struggle to control their cholesterol levels may need to be more cautious.
The United Kingdom charity, Heart UK, recommends that people with this concern speak with a dietitian about what is best for them.
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Eat More Fish To Boost Hdl Cholesterol
Including fish in your diet can increase HDL cholesterol in a short period of time. In a study published in February 2014 in the journal PLoS One, researchers concluded that a diet rich in foods including fish showed an increase in the size of HDL particles in the body, which could help improve cholesterol transport through the body. The researchers saw the positive effects of a diet that included fish in as little as 12 weeks.
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are the type of fatty acids found in fish, can help increase your HDL cholesterol, Ahmed says. Two servings of fatty fish per week, including salmon, mackerel, or albacore tuna, can help you hit your omega-3 goals. Youll also get omega-3s from flaxseeds, mixed greens, and walnuts in your diet.
Why Try To Reduce Cholesterol Without Medication
You might not want to take medication to bring your cholesterol down for several reasons.
Statins are a type of medication used to manage high cholesterol. The side effects of statins may be seen by some as worse than the risks of having high cholesterol. These side effects can include:
- muscle pain
, you should get your cholesterol levels checked:
- every 5 years after you turn age 20
- more often if you have a family history of high cholesterol or cardiovascular conditions
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Potential To Treat Atherosclerosis Through Reverse Cholesterol Transport
The cost and health risks involved with cardiac stenting have turned physicians and researchers to explore alternative methods. Studies have shown success in treating atherosclerosis through preventive and lifestyle approaches. These approaches include nutritional intervention, exercise plans, and pharmaceutical intervention. In order to review and understand these methods and why they are successful, we must first understand how cholesterol is transported out of the arteries to stop the progression of atherosclerosis.
Why Cholesterol Affects Women Differently
In general, women have higher levels of HDL cholesterol than men because the female sex hormone estrogen seems to boost this good cholesterol. But, like so much else, everything changes at menopause. At this point, many women experience a change in their cholesterol levels total and LDL cholesterol rise and HDL cholesterol falls. This is why women who had favorable cholesterol values during their childbearing years might end up with elevated cholesterol later in life. Of course, genetics and lifestyle factors can play big roles, too.
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Cook With Healthy Oils To Raise Hdl Cholesterol
Not all oils are created equal when it comes to your heart health. Olive oil and soybean oil are mainly unsaturated fat, which can lower LDL cholesterol and at the same time increase HDL cholesterol. In a study published in July 2015 in The Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that including olive oil in the diet decreased LDL concentrations in healthy young men.
In a Harvard Health Letter, Walter C. Willett, MD, chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, suggests using coconut oil sparingly because of the lack of research on how the oil may contribute to heart disease.
Groppo agrees. Coconut oil is best used on the skin, she says.
Talk To Your Doctor About Supplements And Cholesterol
If all other methods of increasing your HDL cholesterol haven’t been effective, you might think of taking dietary supplements. Still, Ahmed cautions that supplements aimed at raising HDL only do so modestly. Also, supplements have not yet been proven to reduce heart attacks or strokes.
Speak to your doctor before taking any supplements to raise HDL cholesterol, because some supplements come with health risks or may interact with medication.
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How To Increase Good Hdl Cholesterol
Its a very common misconception that cholesterol is generally bad and high levels are always cause for serious concern. But what if I told you that there is a type of cholesterol thats not only good at higher levels, but also decreases your risk of major health issues like heart disease? I have great news: This type of cholesterol really does exist. Its called HDL cholesterol, and its our good cholesterol.
So if there is a cholesterol that is actually good for us, how can we naturally increase its levels? The short answer is lifestyle. Your lifestyle actually has the single greatest impact on your HDL cholesterol level. So making changes to daily and completely controllable habits like diet and exercise can equate to healthier HDL cholesterol levels, which can lower your risk for life-threatening health issues.
Lets get started on improving those HDL cholesterol numbers because positive change can literally start today!
Natural Ways To Increase Hdl Cholesterol
Your genes do play a role in determining how much HDL your body makes and the proportion of different subtypes. Your genes are obviously already decided for you and out of your control, but your lifestyle choices are in your control. Here are some of the best, and even some easy, ways that you can get those HDL cholesterol numbers up:
1. Dont Smoke
As is always the case, smoking only makes health problems worse, and that includes HDL levels. Studies show that cigarette smoking adversely affects HDL by lowering its level, which further increases your risk for developing coronary heart disease. So if you smoke, youre already increasing your risk for heart problems.
2. Exercise More
To maintain a healthy body, you should exercise on a daily basis. If you want another specific reason to start exercising or increase your frequency of exercise, its your HDL levels. Increased physical activity directly helps raise your HDL cholesterol just another one of the many benefits of exercise. Vigorous exercise is the best choice for boosting HDL, but any additional exercise is better than none.
3. Decrease Body Weight
If youre currently overweight, by losing even a few pounds can improve your HDL cholesterol. For every six pounds of weight you lose, your HDL can increase by 1 milligram per deciliter. Thats means you want to lose weight, and if youre extremely overweight, getting your HDL cholesterol levels in order is another reason to treat obesity.
4. Eat Healthier Fats
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Take A Garlic Supplement
Theres to suggest that taking garlic supplements can moderately reduce LDL cholesterol.
As early as 2000 , research suggested that garlic may help to reduce your bodys absorption of cholesterol and lower triglycerides in your blood. But more research is needed to definitively understand how garlic is linked to lower cholesterol levels.
You can find garlic supplements at any health food store or simply start using more raw garlic in your cooking at home.
Hdl Cholesterol & Ldl Cholesterol: What They Mean
Blood samples to measure cholesterol levels are drawn after youve fasted for nine to 12 hours. Results reveal total cholesterol as well as levels of LDL and HDL . Some doctors also order tests for LDL particle size and number.
The buildup of cholesterol on artery walls narrows the vessels, slowing or blocking the flow of blood. If a coronary artery one supplying the heart is completely blocked, the result is often a heart attack. Total cholesterol, HDL and LDL levels are influenced by heredity, diet, weight, exercise, age, gender, alcohol consumption, and stress. The older you get, the more likely your cholesterol will rise. Before menopause, women tend to have lower levels than men of the same age, but after menopause, womens LDL levels often increase.
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Time To Change How We See Hdl Cholesterol
Dr. Allard-Ratick and colleagues examined the link between good cholesterol levels and the risk of heart attack and cardiovascular death in almost 6,000 individuals aged 63 years, on average.
Most had heart disease the researchers followed them up over the course of 4 years, grouping them according to their levels of HDL cholesterol, measured in milligrams per deciliter .
During the follow-up period, 13 percent of the participants experienced a heart attack or died from cardiovascular disease.
Participants whose HDL cholesterol levels were 4160 mg/dL were the least likely to experience a heart attack or die from a cardiovascular event.
However, for people with very low HDL cholesterol levels and those with very high levels , the risk of adverse cardiovascular events and death increased.
Specifically, people with cholesterol levels higher than 60 mg/dL were almost 50 percent more likely to have a heart attack or die from cardiovascular disease than those with levels at 4160 mg/dL.
Dr. Allard-Ratick comments on these findings. Our results, he explains, are important because they contribute to a steadily growing body of evidence that very high HDL cholesterol levels may not be protective, and because unlike much of the other data available at this time, this study was conducted primarily in patients with established heart disease.
The Best Foods To Raise Your Hdl
Here at Allrecipes, we’re strong believers that all foods fit. As long as you’re not allergic to an ingredient, everything in moderation, we say! So while we’ll never say, “Don’t eat that!” we certainly will shout, “Load up on this!” And these four foods are particularly on our stock-up-now list since they’ve been shown to improve HDL cholesterol levels.
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Raising Your Level Of Hdl
HDL cholesterol is made by our body and is in a large part determined by our genes. By making changes on how active we are and what we eat can help increase HDL cholesterol.
What should we aim for?HDL of 60mg/dL and above is considered protective against heart disease.
Physical Activity: Every bit counts: taking the stairs, walking, biking, and weight training. You do not have to be an Olympic athlete, but you need to be active most days of the week.Quit Smoking: Will increase HDL, decrease heart disease risk and some cancers.Weight Loss: If overweight, weight loss of 5% -10% helps increase HDL cholesterol
Omega 3 fats:
Fish: Eating 2-3 fish meals per week has shown to increase HDL cholesterol. This is linked to the Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Fatty fish are best
Fish Oil supplements: look at the label and add up the EPA and DHA. Take enough capsules to equal 1,000mg daily. Check with your cardiologist or PCP before starting this supplement.
Eat Less Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates
Eat Fiber rich Foods instead: Whole or cut fruit, vegetables, salads, legumes, whole grains
Avoid Trans-fatty Acids: Avoid foods that have partially hydrogenated oils. Read the ingredients list to find them. These oils raise LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol.
The information listed on the website is only for informational purposes.
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Why Is Hdl Helpful
LDL causes plaque build-up, and, over time, can lead to heart attack and stroke. HDL works in your bloodstream like a scavenger or cleaner. It removes the bad LDL cholesterol from the blood, taking it to your liver to be excreted.
Its critical to keep your LDL low ideally, under 100. You also want to keep your HDL high ideally, 50 milligrams per deciliter of blood or higher.
When HDL levels dip below 40 milligrams per deciliter, your risk of heart disease rises.
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Focus On Monounsaturated Fats
As opposed to saturated fats, unsaturated fats have at least one double chemical bond that changes the way your body uses them. Monounsaturated fats have only one double bond.
Some recommend a low fat diet for weight loss, but research is mixed on its effectiveness in controlling blood cholesterol.
One research report acknowledged that lower fat intake is an effective way to reduce blood cholesterol levels. However, researchers were concerned over potential negative effects of low fat diets, such as lowering HDL and increasing triglycerides .
In contrast, research has shown that a diet high in monounsaturated fats, such as the Mediterranean diet, helps reduce levels of harmful LDL and increase levels of healthy HDL .
Monounsaturated fats may also reduce the oxidation of cholesterol, according to research. Oxidized cholesterol can react with free radicals and contribute to clogged arteries. This can lead to atherosclerosis or heart disease .
Overall, monounsaturated fats are healthy because they decrease harmful LDL cholesterol, increase good HDL cholesterol and reduce harmful oxidation (
Monounsaturated fats like those in olive oil, canola oil, tree nuts, and avocados reduce LDL cholesterol, increase HDL cholesterol, and reduce the oxidation that contributes to clogged arteries.
The American Heart Association Recommends
All adults age 20 or older should have their cholesterol checked every four to six years. If certain factors put you at high risk, or if you already have heart disease, your doctor may ask you to check it more often. Work with your doctor to determine your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke and create a plan to reduce your risk.
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Study Design And Diets
The intervention consisted of a 2-week baseline period, 3 weeks of low tomato diet and 3 weeks of high tomato diet. The study subjects followed their habitual diets and eating patterns during the intervention. Before the intervention, the nutritionist interviewed all the participants and instructed them individually how to follow low and high tomato diets without changing their normal everyday habitual diets. In addition, the subjects received written instructions including a detailed list of all other known lycopene-containing foods. During the low tomato diet, the subjects were not to consume tomatoes, tomato products such as tomato ketchup, tomato sauces, tomato juice, etc., and other vegetables and fruit containing lycopene . During the high tomato diet, the study subjects consumed 400 ml tomato juice containing 5·9 mg lycopene/100 ml and 30 g tomato ketchup containing 12·4 mg lycopene/100 g daily, resulting in an average intake of 27 mg dietary lycopene/d. The nutrient content of the tomato juice is presented in the Table 1. The participants were instructed to consume the tomato juice and ketchup with main meals during the day. The habitual consumption of tomatoes and other lycopene-rich foods was also allowed during the high tomato diet.
Table 1 The nutrient content of the tomato juice per 100 ml
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What Is Ldl Cholesterol
LDL is known as bad cholesterol because it transports cholesterol from the liver throughout the body, potentially allowing it to be deposited in artery walls. A desirable level of LDL is less than 100 mg/dL. Levels between 139 and 150 mg/dL are considered borderline high, those between 160 to 189 mg/dL are viewed as high, while levels above 190 mg/dL are classed as very high.
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