How do you guard your heart? There are a lot of things and reminders on how you should take care of your heart. But we are not referring on a couple-love relationship but more on the healthy side.
It is essential to learn the importance of increasing your good HDL to ultimately reduce any threat of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack. Guard your heart to achieve a long and lasting life rather than simply avoiding heartbreak from a bad relationship.
What is Good HDL?
High-density lipoprotein or HDL is the type of good cholesterol which actually needed by our body. Initially, when we hear cholesterol, people tend to think that it’s bad or probably mistook it as high cholesterol. But cholesterol isn’t that bad. Actually, our body needs cholesterol because it is an essential fat. It maintains the stability of the body. As it cruises in the bloodstream, it removes extra cholesterol in your arteries or plaque that might have been build up in that part of your system and then sends it to your liver – in which your liver will expel it entirely out of the body.
Did you know that as we age, the cholesterol level rises? That is why it is important to keep watch and know our level of HDL cholesterol.
Experts believe that it is important to raise the HDL because it can act in many helpful ways. Here are some of the main functions of HDL cholesterol and how it helps the body and guards your heart.
- HDL acts as a vacuum cleaner that removes the LDL or the “bad” cholesterol in the body by excreting it to the liver.
- HDL acts as an antioxidant so having a high-level of HDL can bring anti-inflammatory effect that is associated in reducing heart disease.
- HDL also lowers the risk of dyslipidemia, obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
- HDL serves as a support and maintains the inner walls of the blood vessels. It scrubs the walls and keeps the blood vessel clean. If you have damaged inner walls, it may cause a risk of heart attack and stroke.
Raising Your Good HDL
Knowing the ultimate eating habits that can help us become fit and healthy is a great help for us to lead a healthy lifestyle. But how confident are you if we are to ask how much you care for heart-healthy foods? Making the right food choices is vital and so as the essentiality of including the food that raises your good cholesterol.
The next time you went for grocery shopping, make sure to include this following heart-healthy food and ingredients into your daily diet or nutritional meals!
- Olive Oil – Healthiest Fat!
One of the best heart-healthy fats is olive oil which can be found in olives. It can significantly increase your HDL since it has the highest polyphenol content (micronutrients from plant-based foods). Having a good amount of polyphenol in your body means that you’ll acquire a good packed of antioxidants and health benefits such as saying goodbye to digestive issues. Plus olive oil can be used for almost everything! You can cook your meals with it this healthy oil. Add it for lower-temperature cooking, salad dressings, sauces or you can simply chop olives to sprinkle it over your dishes.
- Beans and Legumes
Make sure to buy some beans, lentils, soybeans and legumes because they are known for being rich in soluble fiber. Aside from being affordable, they are also rich in protein and a source of Folate, one of the B vitamins. You can also get other health benefits like losing weight as well as improving your blood sugar levels. It can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease while making sure to give you a good or properly-maintained blood pressure.
- Whole Grains
Most weight-loss diet meal plans include whole grains. Why? It is because of the fiber they contain which is quite beneficial to your body. Specifically, whole grains have soluble fiber which is known to help to lower LDL and reduce the total cholesterol in the body. So it can technically boost your HDL cholesterol. Make sure to have at least 2 servings of this healthy food daily. Plus you can actually try it out into a different exciting meal – either for breakfast, lunch or dinner alongside with other healthy snacks!
- High-Fiber Fruits
Among the countless number of fruits, make sure that you choose the ones that contain lots of fiber! It is because these fruits will lower your LDL level and of course give your HDL a boost. The next time you when in the fruit section of your favorite grocery store, grab some apples, pears, and prunes. Adding some blueberries into your cart will be a good extra point because these berries can also lower your blood pressure thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Another awesome fruits are the avocado. Make sure to include it to your list because it is filled with healthy mono-saturated fat and contains a high amount of Folate.
- Fatty Fish
We always hear that omega-3 is important and it is undeniably true! Omega-3 Fatty acids which are found in fish can help increase the HDL level and lower the threat of potential cardiovascular disease. The type of fishes that contain a good amount of Omega-3 fatty acids is salmon, mackerel, sardines, rainbow trout, and albacore tuna. There are also food supplement options like krill oil or fish liver oil but remember that fresh fish is still the best choice.
One of the most-loved snacks is the nuts. You can eat it as it is or use it as an extra ingredient to be incorporated in your dishes. Generally, it is known to contain a high amount of fiber and plant sterol which serves as a good blockage against the cholesterol in your body. There is a variety of nuts to choose from like almonds, peanuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts and many more. So always try to grab some and write it down to your grocery list.
Soy-protein is actually considered to be cholesterol-free and a great help in terms of increasing your HDL. Since it is an excellent meat substitute, it helps you reducing your meat consumption and when you eat less meat your HDL level is increases. Aside from that, it is also high in fiber and low in saturated fat so combining it with your diet meals can give you a better and healthier advantage.
8. Coffee, Tea and Red Wine
A lot of researches and health studies promote the good effects of consumption of these three drinks: coffee, tea and red wine. We all know how coffee can make your mornings great, particularly for those people who are so in-loved with coffee. You’ll be happy to know that your favorite coffee actually lowers the risk of mortality by reducing the threats of heart problems, hypertension and even arrhythmias. Though try to not add sugar and cream because they can lessen the healthy benefit of coffee. On the other hand, tea is legitimately hailed as a healthy drink. Black tea or green tea, whichever you prefer to drink, can give anti-oxidant benefits and lower the risk of heart disease. Most health experts recommend 48-ounces of tea per day. However, if you are a person who prefers red wine over the first two drinks then you don’t have to worry much because you can still raise your HDL. Moderate drinking of red wine can actually reduce LDL and give you a good boost of HDL. There are even researches which show significant effects of it in association to reducing the threats of heart attack. But make sure to drink a moderate amount – a glass for a day is enough for women.
Here Are Other Ways to Boost the HDL or Good Cholesterol Level
- Be Proactive. Physical activity can boost the HDL level. A 30 minutes exercise can help.
- Choose better fats. Always choose for the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
- Stop Smoking. No matter how many times you eat healthy food but doesn’t quit smoking then it will be just pointless.
- Talk to your Doctor. Don’t miss an appointment with your doctor or medical provider to ensure tailored instructions and medications.
Protecting the heart is important. It’s the base of our life. With simple acts such as keeping the HDL cholesterol level can impact the overall health. It takes discipline, better choices and dedication to do so. Overall the way to a heart-healthy lifestyle is to focus on the things that will help and contribute to the healthy life!
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