Six Fantastic Tips to Raise Good Cholesterol Levels
You know all about bad cholesterol and its effects, that it can cause heart attacks or strokes if left unchecked. But what is this good cholesterol you keep hearing about? High-Density Lipoprotein or HDL is the good guy of cholesterol. If you've ever seen a commercial for Scrubbing Bubbles replace soap scum for bad cholesterol (LDL) and you have a pretty good idea of what HDL does inside your veins and arteries. So how can you increase the level of your good cholesterol? We have compiled six tips to help you do just that.
Being the savvy person you are, you already know how dangerous cholesterol can be. You probably even know that there are two different kinds: the bad LDL and the good HDL. If you don't know the difference, here's a quick primer. LDL attaches to the walls of your arteries and may cause strokes or heart attacks by blocking the flow of blood; HDL works to remove LDL and is therefore considered to be beneficial to your overall health. What follows are six steps that are designed to help you raise your HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
Exercise: Any activity that forces your heart rate up for a period of thirty or more minutes will increase HDL levels. Aerobic exercise will also help you lose fat, which is believed to contribute to higher LDL levels. You do not become a gym rat to reap the benefits of exercise. In fact some experts claim that it is the duration of exertion and not its intensity that is important in improving cholesterol levels.
Healthy Eating: Diet is a great, and easy, way for you to change the cholesterol levels. By cutting out fatty foods and replacing them with fruits, vegetables and whole grains you will increase your HDL. There is even a study that is making claims that eating a piece of cherry pie regularly may decrease the risk of heart attack. Like dark green vegetables, it seems that the dark pigmentation of the cherries used help to increase good cholesterol.
Drink Moderately: An alcoholic beverage a day may help to keep the doctor away. The long standing belief that you had to consume red wine is being challenged as scientists attempt to prove any alcohol can have beneficial properties on the heart.
Stop Smoking: Need another reason to quit? How about this, by giving up tobacco a smoker automatically raises their HDL?
Remove Stress: The verdict is out on whether this directly affects cholesterol, but many studies have shown correlations between heart disease and stress. I say don't wait for definitive evidence, stress is a known negative. Work to remove it from your life. Slow down, and enjoy the simple pleasures. Spend more time with friends and family and try to worry less.
Sleep More: Just as mental stress can affect your overall health, so to can physical stress. This comes from over working the body and not giving the cells enough of a chance to repair themselves. You should aim for at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
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