HDL (high density lipoprotein) is a protein that carries about 1/3 to 1/4 of blood cholesterol. HDL acts a "good" cholesterol because it picks up the cholesterol and removes it from the bloodstream by carrying it back to the liver, where it is passed from the body. Levels above 40 milligrams per deciliter can protect against heart attacks and strokes.
LDL (low density lipoprotein), "bad" cholesterol, carries cholesterol in the blood stream and is involved in plaque formation within the arteries, this process is called, atherosclerosis. Levels higher than 160 mg/dl increases the risk of heart disease.
So what can you do to raise your HDL and lower your LDL?
- exercise daily
- STOP smoking
- moderate amounts of alcohol, limit to only one drink/day, or even better 3-4 glasses of red wine a week
- add whole grains and beans to your daily diet
- eat more nuts, like walnuts & almonds
- refrain from trans fats and limit saturated fats in your diet
- eat more oats
- EAT breakfast
- eat garlic which has heart protecting antioxidants
- eat a grapefruit
- drink green tea daily
- consume cranberries
- eat 5-6 small meals a day
- drink plenty of water daily
- consume the recommended amount of vitamin B (niacin) and folic acid daily