High blood pressure is common in our family. Both of my grandparents are taking several medications for their hypertension. Recently, I got the same health condition. Although it runs in the family, I think my lifestyle is another big factor.
When I visited my physician for a regular check-up, he explained that I had a high level of bad cholesterol and needed to increase my high-density lipoprotein. I did not know what he was talking about.
I asked him every question that came to my mind. What is a high-density lipoprotein? How does it work? How to increase this good cholesterol? Perhaps, you have the same queries. Don’t worry! Here is everything I have learned from my doctor that I want to share with you!
High-Density Lipoprotein – What Is It?
High-density lipoprotein (HDL), commonly referred to as good cholesterol, has different functions in our body. It helps carry cholesterol from our arteries to the liver. Scientists found HDL has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that have been associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
Ways to Raise This Good Cholesterol
While genetics play a significant role, various factors may increase our HDL. Read on for more!
Keep Artificial Trans Fat at Bay
There are different types of fats, including saturated, unsaturated, and trans fat. Unsaturated fat is the healthiest and safest. However, most of our foods are high in trans and saturated fat. It takes a lot of patience, commitment, and a solid mindset to get rid of them in our diet. Trans fat, in particular, has several adverse health effects because of its strong inflammatory properties. They are also found to lower our HDL level. Therefore, it is best to avoid trans fat. Our body does not need it in the first place.
Olive Oil is Good
Too much oil intake is unhealthy and can put our lives in danger. Olive oil, on the other hand, is different, and it is a healthful fat. A review confirmed that olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat, reducing the risk of any heart disease. It has also shown that olive oil increases HDL cholesterol, thanks to its polyphenols, also a type of antioxidant. Unlike the processed one, natural olive oil has more polyphenols, according to nutritionists. Olive oil is a relatively flexible ingredient. You can mix it into your salad dressing, add in marinades, use it as an alternative to margarine, and make a tasty dip.
Consume Fatty Fish Regularly
Although it sounds unhealthy, fatty fish is packed with omega-3 fats that reduce frequent inflammation and ensure better cell functioning. Some studies imply that fatty fish or fish oil supplement intake may help increase HDL cholesterol. Fish high in omega-three fats include light tuna, salmon, trout, sardine, mackerel, herring, and cod. Alternatively, you could try canola oil, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts, yogurt, and soy beverages. Ask a licensed nutritionist for more information!
A Ketogenic or Low Carb Diet Is Excellent
Apart from low blood sugar level and safe weight loss, low carb or ketogenic diets may raise HDL cholesterol in people who have diabetes, obesity, and insulin resistance, according to research. A study participated by people with type 2 diabetes suggested that those who followed a low carb diet increased their HDL cholesterol more than the individuals with a high carb intake. Foods that are low in carbohydrates include eggs, lean meats, fish, leafy vegetables, unsweetened dairy products, broccoli, cauliflower, blueberries, strawberries, apples, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and rapeseed oil.
Take Advantage of Purple Produce
Not everyone loves purple vegetables and fruits. But nutritionists and other health professionals say purple produce can safely increase HDL cholesterol. Although they do not look appetizing for some, any purple produce is rich in certain antioxidants like anthocyanins. Using anthocyanin extracts is found to fight off inflammation, boost HDL cholesterol levels, and protect the cells from free radicals. A study of individuals with diabetes confirmed that they increased their HDL cholesterol by 19.4%. Their heart health also improved. Purple produce includes blackberries, sweet potatoes, eggplant, cauliflower, carrots, kale, passion fruit, mangosteen, asparagus, acai berries, star apple, cabbage, elderberries, red dragon fruit, and purple barley.
It is not the end of the world when you are diagnosed with high blood pressure. It is just a reminder that you need to change your lifestyle.
Remember, if others can, you can make the impossible possible.