Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cardiovascular Disease Kills More Americans Than Any Other Cause

Every 37 seconds, someone in American dies due to cardiovascular disease. Dr Rob Danoff, MSN Health website, offers these tips to raise HDL cholesterol levels and lower the bad LDL levels.
Exercise. Just 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most days of the week can jump-start your HDL in the right direction.
Break the tobacco habit. Quitting smoking can raise your HDL levels by about four points.
Lose weight. Losing 10 pounds can increase your HDL by one and a half points. Aim for a weight loss goal to achieve a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or below.

Choose the better fat. Minimize the saturated and trans fats in your diet. These substances increase the bad cholesterol while decreasing your good cholesterol. Instead, switch to products containing unsaturated fats (olive, canola, flaxseed, etc.). These may raise your HDL levels. However, this is not a free fatty-pass, because we still have to watch the calories!
Cut back on simple carbohydrates. Cakes, cookies and highly processed cereals and breads are high-glycemic foods that can lower your HDL and raise the levels of another fat in your bloodstream, triglycerides.
Drink alcohol in moderation, with a caveat! Alcohol should not be considered medicine—if you don't drink, don't start—but some studies have found mild alcohol consumption (one drink per day for women, two for men) can raise HDL by up to four points. Important caveat: Alcohol may be harmful to those with liver or addiction problems. In these cases, the risks certainly outweigh the benefits.
Feast on cold-water fish. Eating salmon, mackerel or other fish from icy waters several times a week can have a very positive effect on your HDL levels. They contain omega-3 fatty acids, which may help to explain their health benefits.
Add fiber. The soluble fiber found in fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains might boost your HDL.
Avoid anabolic steroids. These decrease your HDL levels, in addition to all their other potential health dangers.

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