Diet to Improve Cholesterol and Heart Healthy Tips

By | November 24, 2008

How to Improve Cholesterol?

Good cholesterol is HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol, which circulates in the blood. It has got nothing to do with the dietary cholesterol. It is an essential component of the blood lipid, which helps to decrease the incidence of cardio vascular diseases. It also protects from the accumulation atheromatous plaques in the arteries, in vulnerable individuals. Women, in general have a higher HDL levels, in comparison to men.

The HDL levels are considered normal, when above 40 mg/dl. It comprises of 20 to 30 percent of the total cholesterol levels. Decrease in HDL cholesterol levels by five points, increases the incidence of heart diseases by 25 percent. Research reveals the positive correlation between HDL levels and orange juice consumption. This is attributed to the antioxidant effect of oranges. Soy based foods are highly beneficial, as they are low in saturated fats. Increase in HDL levels is seen with soy consumption, which might be due to the iso flavones in them. It also decreases the triglycerides and LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol levels. Eliminate animal and dairy fats in a complete manner. Opt for vegetable oils. The reduction of fat is about 30 to 35 percent of the total dietary calories. Extreme reduction in fats results in deficiency of essential fatty acids. This in turn, results in reduction of HDL cholesterol levels.

Foods for Cholesterol and Diet to Increase Cholesterol

High fiber foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low fat products, decrease the glycemic load, thereby increasing the HDL cholesterol levels. Avoid smoking, as it helps to a great extent. Alcohol intake, in moderation helps in the protection of the arteries from plaque and also increases the HDL levels. Excessive body weight reduces the HDL levels, thereby calling for loss of extra pounds! Substitute the saturated fats in your diet with monounsaturated fats for better HDL levels.

Avoid trans fats, as it brings a significant reduction in good cholesterol and increases bad or LDL cholesterol levels. Olive oil, peanut butter, avocado and canola oil are monounsaturated fats that helps in the increase of HDL levels.  A half an hour session of regular exercise helps to increase the HDL levels to a considerable amount. Oats, fruits and veggies are a good source of soluble fiber, which help in HDL increase. Foods with omega 3 fatty acids, such as fish increase the HDL levels. Cranberry juice proves beneficial in increasing the good cholesterol levels. Supplementation of calcium in post menopausal women is also highly effective.