Medical City Healthcare - January 17, 2020

Sometimes it’s easier to start doing something healthy (especially if it tastes good) than to stop doing something unhealthy. Here are some easy, tasty ways to raise your HDL “healthy” cholesterol and lower your LDL “lousy” cholesterol.

The National Institutes of Health says that a desirable total cholesterol level is under 200.

You want your LDL—the main source of cholesterol buildup and blockage in your arteries—to be under 100.

Your HDL—the street-sweeper that removes extra cholesterol from your arteries and sends it to your liver—should be 60 or higher for maximum heart and stroke protection.

Heart-healthy, yummy foods.

Add these foods to your diet to raise your HDL (and maybe even lower your LDL):

  • Avocado and avocado oil
  • Beans and legumes such as lentils and peas (did you know peanuts are legumes—edible seeds enclosed in pods?)
  • Chia seeds
  • Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, sardines and rainbow trout (go easy on the sardines as they are high in sodium)
  • Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil (be sure to use ground flaxseed, as whole seeds are nearly impossible to digest)
  • High-fiber fruit such as prunes, apples and pears
  • Nuts and seeds such as Brazil nuts, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans and cashews (it’s true—hazelnuts and pecans are the only nuts in this bunch—the rest are seeds. 1-2 ounces make a healthy, delicious snack.)
  • Olives and extra-virgin olive oil
  • Soy (reducing your meat consumption may raise your HDL and lower your LDL)
  • Whole grains such as oatmeal, 100% whole grain bread and brown rice (at least 2 servings daily)

More ways to improve your cholesterol levels.

  • Move more: For lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, the American Heart Association recommends
    • An average of 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic exercise 3-4 times a week
  • Weigh less: Losing weight can positively impact HDL and LDL cholesterol numbers
  • Go with your gut: Research shows that the microbes in your stomach can influence your cholesterol levels and heart disease risk, so eating probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and fermented foods daily is a good idea
  • Talk with your doc: Before making dramatic changes to your diet or exercise routine, talk with your doctor about your cholesterol levels and how they affect your risk for heart disease and stroke
When to go to the ER for chest pain

Find out how healthy your heart is. Our free Heart Risk Assessment can help you pinpoint your personal risk factors for heart disease so you can start taking steps to decrease them today.

If you think someone is having a heart attack or stroke, call 911 immediately.

If you or someone in your family experiences chest pain, one of our many Medical City Healthcare emergency locations or Accredited Chest Pain Centers has you covered. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

You can also get care for minor injuries or illness at one of the many DFW CareNow® Urgent Care locations, with convenient Web Check-In® so you can wait in the comfort of your home.

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