even though i’ve been able to keep my cholesterol in check, i’m always looking for “fun” ways to improve it – raising the HDL (good cholesterol) and lower your LDL (bad cholesterol).
- Eat more nuts: eating 67 grams of nuts per day (a little more than two-ounces) increased the ratio of HDL to LDL in the blood by 8.3%
- Boost your endurance: exercising for 20 minutes a day increases your HDL by 2.5 points and for every additional 10 minutes per day add an extra 1.4 points to your HDL
- Build killer quads: do three sets of six to eight repetitions of the half squat, leg extension, and leg press, resting no more than 2 minutes between sets
- Pop a milk pill: people who took a daily 1,000-mg calcium supplement saw their HDL-cholesterol levels rise by 7%. choose one that contains calcium citrate (not coral calcium) and 400 international units of vitamin D for maximum absorption.
- Make a date with Mrs. Paul (Healthy Selects Sticks from Mrs. Paul’s): eating fish results in a 26 percent increase in HDL2
- Learn how to pronounce “policosanol” (poly-CO-sanol): 10-20 mg a day can increase HDL by up to 15%; try Naturals and Nature’s Life
- Drink cranberry juice: those who drank three 8-ounce glasses a day for a month increased their HDL-cholesterol levels by 10%; buy 100 percent juice that’s at least 27% cranberry.
- Eat grapefruit: one a day can reduce arterial narrowing by 46%, lower your LDL cholesterol by more than 10%, and help drop your blood pressure by more than 5 points
- Don’t let your tank hit empty: people who eat six or more small meals a day have 5% lower LDL cholesterol levels
- Eat oatmeal cookies: men with high LDL cholesterol (above 200 mg/dL) who ate oat-bran cookies daily for 8 weeks dropped their levels by more than 20%
- Switch your spread: switching to trans fat-free margarine, such as Smart Balance Buttery Spread, can lower LDL cholesterol by 11 percent
- Take the Concord: compounds in Concord grapes help slow the formation of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol
- Swallow phytosterols or phytostanols: both substances lower bad cholesterol levels by an average of 10-15%
- Be a part-time vegetarian: a couple of servings of vegetarian fare such as whole grains, nuts, and beans to their diets each day for a month lowered their LDL cholesterol by nearly 30%
- Switch to dark chocolate: consuming 2.5 ounces of dark chocolate each day boosts levels of HDL by between 11-14%
all things in moderation – your heart will benefit more from a few long-term health improvements than from a flurry of activity followed by a return to the dangerous norm. work five of them into your daily routine over the next month. when they become second nature, try five more.
read article on Yahoo! Health by Bill Phillips and the Editors of Men’s Health: 15 Surprising Ways to Improve Your Cholesterol