Raise HDL Through Lifestyle Change - Improve your Heart Health
High cholesterol is a major cause of worry in the present times. The rising number of heart problems has a direct link with eating habits. But did you know you can tweak your diet to control cholesterol? or that HDL, the good cholesterol from certain food items, controls the bad cholesterol levels in our body?
Nourish Your Body with these 10 Foods for Elevating HDL Cholesterol
HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is often referred to as "good" cholesterol because it helps remove harmful LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol from the bloodstream. Elevating HDL cholesterol levels can help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
So, that being said, here are ten foods that can help increase your HDL cholesterol levels:
- Fatty fish - Salmon, mackerel, and tuna are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help increase HDL cholesterol levels.
- Nuts - Walnuts, almonds, and other nuts are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can help raise HDL cholesterol.
- Olive oil - Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats, which can increase HDL cholesterol levels and lower LDL cholesterol.
- Avocado - Avocado is rich in monounsaturated fats and fibre, which can help raise HDL cholesterol and improve overall heart health.
- Legumes - Beans, lentils, and peas are excellent sources of soluble fibre, which can help lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol levels.
- Whole grains - Whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice contain soluble fibre, which can help raise HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol.
- Berries - Berries like blueberries and strawberries contain polyphenols, which can help improve HDL cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation.
- Garlic - Garlic contains allicin, a compound that can help lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol levels.
- Dark chocolate - Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which can help raise HDL cholesterol levels and improve overall heart health.
- Green tea - Green tea contains catechins, which can help increase HDL cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation in the body.
Incorporating these foods into your diet can help elevate your HDL cholesterol levels and improve your heart health.
Also Read: Weight Management: All you Need to Know about Weight Management
Get Moving: The Benefits of Exercise for Good Cholesterol
Apart from the food we eat, another simple way to give a boost to the good cholesterol in the body is through exercise. Here are some of the benefits of exercise for improving or maintaining overall cholesterol levels:
- Increases HDL cholesterol levels
- Improves overall heart health
- Reduces inflammation
- Helps maintain a healthy weight
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- Reduces stress
- Improves overall fitness
The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week for overall heart health. Consult with your healthcare provider before starting an exercise program, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are new to exercise.
Incorporating Apple Cider Vinegar, Green Tea Other Foods into Your Diet for Lowering Cholesterol Levels
Incorporating apple cider vinegar, green tea, and other foods such as oats, nuts, and fatty fish into your diet can help lower cholesterol levels.
ACV and green tea contain antioxidants that protect against LDL oxidation, while oats and nuts are high in fibre and healthy fats. Additionally, fatty fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help in lowering triglyceride levels.
Reduce Stress and Improve Your HDL Cholesterol Levels
Stress can have a negative impact on your health, including your cholesterol levels. High levels of stress can cause your body to release cortisol, a hormone that can increase LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
Here are some ways to reduce stress and improve your HDL cholesterol levels:
- Regular Exercise can help reduce stress levels and improve HDL cholesterol levels. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise.
- Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help reduce stress levels and improve overall heart health.
- Lack of sleep can increase stress levels and negatively impact cholesterol levels. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
- A healthy diet, too, can help reduce stress levels and improve cholesterol levels.
- Alcohol and caffeine can both increase stress levels and negatively impact cholesterol levels. Limit your intake of these substances to improve overall heart health.
- Spending time with loved ones can help reduce stress levels and improve overall heart health.
- If stress levels are high and affecting your daily life, consider seeking professional help.
Antioxidants-Packed Foods for Boosting Good Cholesterol
Antioxidants, found in foods such as berries, nuts, and leafy greens, can help boost levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, also known as "good" cholesterol. HDL cholesterol helps remove low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol, from the bloodstream.
Further, antioxidants protect against LDL oxidation, which can damage blood vessels and increase the risk of heart disease. Eating antioxidant-rich foods as part of a healthy diet can promote optimal cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
The Power of a Plant-Based Diet for Elevating HDL Cholesterol
A plant-based diet can be a powerful tool for elevating HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Here are some ways in which a plant-based diet can help:
- Plant-based diets are high in fibre, which can help reduce the absorption of cholesterol from food in the gut leading to a decrease in LDL and an increase in HDL.
- Animal products are high in saturated fat, which can increase LDL. A plant-based diet is naturally low in saturated fat, which can help decrease LDL and increase HDL.
- Rich in Healthy Unsaturated Fats: such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are healthy unsaturated fats, which can help improve blood lipid levels and increase HDL.
- Rich in Antioxidants: This helps protect against oxidative stress and inflammation, thus preventing damage to LDL cholesterol particles and promote the production of HDL cholesterol.
- May Promote Weight Loss: Plant-based diets are generally lower in calories and higher in fibre, which can help with weight loss. Losing weight can improve blood lipid levels, including increasing HDL cholesterol levels.
Examples of plant-based foods that can help elevate HDL cholesterol levels include Whole grains, Legumes, Nuts and seeds, Fruits and vegetables.
There is no single approach to improving HDL. It has to be a change in lifestyle through a healthy diet, regular exercise and reduced stress. But do remember that it is important to consult a doctor because a lifestyle change would not be sufficient if you are in need of medical supervision.