Cholesterol numbers can indicate your risk for heart disease and stroke, and a low HDL is certainly a contributing factor. HDL, or high density lipoprotein, is a “good” type of cholesterol with cardio-protective benefits. The higher the number, the better. Men should aim for levels of 40 mg/dL or greater and women should aim for 50 mg/dL or greater. Although genetics can affect your HDL levels (and we can't pick our parents), it is important to focus on things we can change – like lifestyle!
Just like Hippocrates said, “Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Think about following this wise advice and add in some of these HDL boosting foods.
- It's okay to get a little nutty sometimes! Enjoy walnuts, almonds pecans and hazel nuts as a good source of heart-healthy fats.
- Seafood, like salmon, tuna, mackerel and halibut, are high in Omega 3 fatty acids. Try these twice a week or supplement with a quality source of fish oil, krill oil or flax seed.
- Get an oil change by replacing butter and fried foods with foods lightly sautéed in extra virgin olive oil.
- Increase your soluble fiber by adding in foods like oatmeal, bran, and beans. This fiber will act like a broom, sweeping out the bad cholesterol and raising your HDL.
Finally, regular exercise has been shown to significantly boost your HDL. Get 30 minutes a day to help you “Feel Better and Live Longer!”
Jody Anderson, RN, CHC
Succeed Health, LLC- Algoma