The Importance Of Good Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that circulates in the blood. It’s broken up into good and bad cholesterol. The body uses cholesterol for cell building and a host of other processes. However, too much LDL and not enough HDL can be unhealthy. High cholesterol increases the chances of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and heart attacks. So, increasing HDL is vital for overall health and longevity.
HDL vs. LDL
Cholesterol is carried through the blood via 2 lipoproteins. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) take cholesterol through the body but can remain in arteries. An excess buildup over time leads to atherosclerosis, increasing the risk of a heart attack. High-density lipoproteins (HDL) transports LDL away from the arteries to the liver for processing. So there needs to be enough HDL to counteract the effects of LDL. About 18% of American adults have lower HDL than LDL. Try these 4 steps that are proven to increase HDL and lower LDL.
1. Try B-complex
B-complex is a supplement containing the family of 8 essential B vitamins. These vitamins are involved in hundreds of processes in the body. The B-vitamins mainly come from meat, fish, dairy, vegetables, and fortified foods. However, many Americans still miss out on the daily requirement. Niacin (B3) can raise HDL levels by as much as 25%. B5, another essential vitamin, can manage total cholesterol levels. Finally, B12 and B9 reduce the chances of atherosclerosis while reducing cholesterol.
2. Step up your exercise.
Exercise can help anyone look good, feel good, and keep those pounds at bay. A consistent regimen can prevent a host of chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancers. Moderate aerobic exercise and weight lifting can impact cholesterol levels as well. A recent study revealed that obese men using interval training significantly increased HDL. Make sure to speak with a doctor before starting any new exercise regimen.
3. It’s all in your diet
One of the ways to higher HDL levels is on the plate. A healthy diet can help shed those pounds, bringing about a host of metabolic changes. But to get the maximum effect, incorporate some HDL-boosting foods. For example, avocados, kale, peppers, and beets can increase HDL and lower LDL. Adding fatty fish like salmon 2-3 times per week can also improve HDL. More importantly, avoid excess sugar, trans fats, and excess saturated fats.
4. Give up smoking and excess alcohol
Quitting smoking and excess alcohol are two of the fastest ways to boost HDL. Smoking has a reputation for causing a host of diseases and shortening lifespan. However, studies show that smokers significantly increased HDL after one year of quitting. The same goes for alcohol consumption. Drinking the occasional glass of wine can increase HDL and lower triglycerides. However, excess alcohol can lead to many lifestyle diseases that can decrease HDL.
Give your HDL a boost
A B-complex supplement coupled with exercise is the fastest way to raise HDL. Many doctors suggest incorporating a supplement with light to moderate exercise. From there, add diet and lifestyle changes for maximum benefit. Maintaining high HDL levels can be a challenge. Speak with a doctor or pharmacist for the best supplements and techniques available.