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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tips On Improving Your Cholesterol Profile

The beneficial effects on the heart and circulatory system of a having a low blood level (below 130) of LDL cholesterol and a high blood level (above 55) of HDL cholesterol are well established. It is also good to have a ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol of no more than 4.0. If your levels don’t meet these criteria, you might benefit from the recommendations listed in an online Men’s Health Magazine article by Bill Phillips dated September 13, 2011. It presents the following ways, purportedly based on scientific studies, of improving your cholesterol profile without drugs:

Raise Your HDL Level

  • Eat at least 2 oz (57 gm) of nuts per day.
  • Do endurance exercise at least 20 min/day
  • Do 3 sets of 6-8 reps of the half squat, leg extension, and leg press, with 2 min max rest between sets, 2x/wk
  • Take a 1000 mg calcium supplement daily with 400 IU of Vitamin D-3
  • Eat fresh, not processed, white fish (e.g. cod, sole, flounder)
  • Take a daily 10-20 mg polycosanol supplement
  • Drink cranberry juice
  • Eat 2.5 oz of dark chocolate daily
Lower Your LDL Level
  • Eat a grapefruit daily
  • Eat several small meals a day
  • Eat food fortified with oat bran
  • Switch from a margarine containing trans fats to a spread that doesn’t
  • Drink Concord grape juice
  • Take phytosterol or phytostanol supplements in pills or margarine form
  • Add whole grains, nuts, and beans to your diet
Bottom Line

These seem like good recommendations. Just observe the following precautions:
  • Don’t overdo the calories by adding these items to your diet. Remove other items when you add these.
  • Endurance exercise is important for everyone. Weight training alone is not optimal for health.
  • Do not exceed 1000 mg of calcium/day from all sources (1200 mg/day if you're over 70) because of a possible increased risk of prostate cancer.
  • Don’t eat only white fish, because darker, fattier fish like salmon and mackerel are high in beneficial omega-3 fish oil.
  • Don’t overdo the juice because even natural juices contain a lot of sugar, especially fructose, which can increase fatty deposits in the liver and around the midsection.
  • Look for brands of dark chocolate without added milk fat.
  • Several small meals means SMALL.
  • The margarine brands that contain phytosterols and phytostanols contain some trans fats that are not listed because they're less than 0.5 mg per serving. So you may prefer getting these supplements in tablet form.


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