How to raise HDL cholesterol?
HDL cholesterol is also called the good cholesterol, because it cleans out the arteries, in comparison to LDL cholesterol, the bad cholesterol, which is found in the gunk built up in the arteries.
In my extensive 30 plus years experience as a physician, I have never seen a patient with high HDL cholesterol (more than 80 mg/dl) suffer from a heart attack or stroke. And I continue to see a number of patients with low LDL cholesterol suffer from heart attacks and stroke.
While the whole focus has been on lowering the LDL cholesterol, there has not been much attention on raising the HDL cholesterol. Why? Because almost every major pharmaceutical company has a blockbuster drug to lower the LDL cholesterol, but the drug industry have not found an effective way to raise the HDL cholesterol.
In my experience, drugs such as statins, niacin, fenofibrate and fish oil do not cause any significant increase in the HDL cholesterol.
What I have found really works is a simple change in your diet: Lower carbohydrates (including bread, pasta rice, cereals, oat meal, sugar, juices) and increase monounsaturated fats found in nuts, especially almonds, walnuts, pecan, macadamia and pistachios. Increasing the intake olive oil, avocados and fatty fish such as salmon also helps somewhat. Compared to popular belief, exercise does not help. One easy way to get plenty of almonds is thru my almond muffins.
Click here for the recipe for almond muffins.
This article was written by Sarfraz Zaidi, MD, FACE. Dr. Zaidi specializes in Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Dr. Zaidi is a former assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCLA and Director of the Jamila Diabetes and Endocrine Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, California.
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