Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Raise Your Cholesterol! (Er...HDL)

Cholesterol can be baffling. Aren't there two types? Isn't some cholesterol good?

Yes indeedy, Cholesterol can be divided into two types:
  1. HDL (high-density lipoprotein)
  2. LDL (low-density lipoprotein)
Since protein is more dense than fat, the density of the cholesterol depends on the ratio of protein to fat in the cholesterol molecule. Cholesterol with a higher ratio of protein is higher in density (HDL), while cholesterol with a higher ratio of fat has a lower density (LDL).

LDL Cholesterol is the cateogry that has been linked with heart disease, earning its reputation as the bad cholesterol.

HDL, on the other hand, is known to help protect against heart disease. There are also some studies suggesting it may lower cancer incidence. i.e...good cholesterol

While many cholesterol articles focus on lowering your LDL, a focus on raising HDL levels is just as important. That being said, today I want to discuss two ways to RAISE YOUR CHOLESTEROL! (HDL, that is)

The first, I think you will like:
Moderate alcohol intake has actually been shown to raise HDL cholesterol levels, decreasing risk of heart disease. Moderate means no more than 1 glass/day for women, or 2/day for men. Wine is an especially good choice here, since it also contains antioxidants. Pour 'er up and sip er' down, my friend :)

The second:
Results from a study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that an increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with reduced LDL levels. Omega 3's are found in fish, as well as flaxseed, walnuts, soy foods, and green leafies.

Another way to increase HDL is to improve your blood triglyceride levels...a fancy pants way of saying eat less hydrogenated and saturated fats. Dark chocolate, green tea, and vitamin D (good ol' sunshine) have also been linked with higher HDL levels.

Eat chocolate covered walnuts over a glass of wine, and chase with a walk in the sun. Now that kinda healthy livin' is right. up. my. alley. :)

Peace, Love, and Veggies,

1 comment:

  1. Bee, Regarding your article on raising good cholesterol, i've found the best and most effective way of raising hdl is to take 1,000 mg of Niacin per day.