ways to improve cholesterol

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).

  1. 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%
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. Make a date with Mrs. Paul (Healthy Selects Sticks from Mrs. Paul’s): eating fish results in a 26 percent increase in HDL2
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. Don’t let your tank hit empty: people who eat six or more small meals a day have 5% lower LDL cholesterol levels
  10. 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%
  11. Switch your spread: switching to trans fat-free margarine, such as Smart Balance Buttery Spread, can lower LDL cholesterol by 11 percent
  12. Take the Concord: compounds in Concord grapes help slow the formation of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol
  13. Swallow phytosterols or phytostanols: both substances lower bad cholesterol levels by an average of 10-15%
  14. 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%
  15. 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.

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read article on Yahoo! Health by Bill Phillips and the Editors of Men’s Health: 15 Surprising Ways to Improve Your Cholesterol

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