Cholesterol · Heart attack · Heart Diseases · heart health

9 Ways to Increase HDL Cholesterol (the Good Kind!)

HDL has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and it is linked to a decreased risk of heart disease. Most heart specialists suggest the minimum blood HDL levels to be 40 mg/dl in men and 50 mg/dl in women. While genetics surely play a role, there are numerous other determinants that affect HDL levels.

Here are 9 healthy steps to raise your “good” HDL cholesterol.

1. Use olive oil

Olive oil is one of the wholesome fats available in the market today. Extra virgin olive oil is more beneficial than processed olive oil.

An extensive review of 42 studies with more than 800,000 members found that olive oil was the only source of monounsaturated fat that decreases the risk of heart diseases. The study has also revealed that one of olive oil’s heart-healthy effects is an increase in HDL cholesterol. This consequence is thought to be caused by antioxidants in the olive oil called polyphenols. Extra virgin olive oil has more polyphenols than other processed oils, although the quantity can still vary among different types and labels. One research gave 200 healthy young men about 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of separate olive oil per day for three weeks. The researchers found that participants’ HDL levels improved significantly after they used the olive oil with the highest polyphenol content. In another research, when 60 older adults consumed about 4 tablespoons (50 ml) of high-polyphenol extra virgin olive oil every day for 6 weeks, their HDL cholesterol increased by 6.5 mg/dl, on average.

In addition to raising HDL levels, olive oil has been found to increase HDL’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant function in studies of older people and in individuals with high cholesterol levels. Whenever feasible, select high-quality certified extra virgin olive oils, which tend to be highest in polyphenols.

Conclusion: Extra virgin olive oil with high polyphenol content has been shown to raise HDL levels in normal people, the elderly and in individuals with high cholesterol.

2. Follow a low-carb or ketogenic diet

Low-carb and ketogenic diets provide plenty of health benefits, including weight loss and decreased blood sugar levels. It has also been proven that such diets raise HDL cholesterol in people who tend to have lower levels. This includes those who are overweight, insulin-resistant or diabetic.

In one investigation, people with type 2 diabetes were divided into two groups. One group followed a diet eating less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. The other group followed a high-carb diet. Although both the groups lost weight, the low-carb group’s HDL cholesterol increased almost twice as much as the high-carb group. In a different study, overweight people who followed a low-carbohydrate diet encountered an increase in HDL cholesterol of 5 mg/dl overall. Meanwhile, in a related study, the members who ate a low-fat, high-carb diet showed a drop in HDL cholesterol. One study of obese women found that foods high in meat and cheese increased HDL levels by 5%, in contrast to a high-carb diet.

In addition to raising HDL cholesterol, very-low-carb nutrition has been shown to reduce triglycerides and improve many other risk factors for heart disease.

Conclusion: Low-carbohydrate and ketogenic foods usually increase HDL cholesterol levels in people with diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity.

3. Exercise daily

Being physically active is essential for heart wellness. Researchers have revealed that different types of exercises are capable of raising HDL cholesterol, including strength training, high-intensity interval training, and aerobic activity. However, the significant improvements in HDL are usually seen with high-intensity exercise.

One study followed women who were living with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is also linked to a higher risk of insulin resistance. The study expected these women to perform high-intensity training three times per week.This routine led to an increase in HDL cholesterol of 9 mg/dl after ten weeks. The females also showed improvements in other health markers, including decreased insulin resistance and improved blood pressure. In a 12-week study, obese men who performed high-intensity training encountered a 10% increase in HDL cholesterol. In contrast, the moderate-intensity exercise group showed only a 2% improvement and the endurance training group experienced no change.

However, even lower-intensity activity seems to increase HDL’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, whether HDL levels change or not. Overall, high-intensity training such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and high-intensity circuit training (HICT) may increase HDL cholesterol levels the most.

Conclusion: Exercising numerous times per week can help increase HDL cholesterol levels and improve its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. High-intensity forms of training are especially effective.

4. Add coconut oil to your food menu

Researchers have revealed that coconut oil may decrease food cravings, boost metabolic rate and assist in protecting brain health, among other benefits. Many people are concerned about coconut oil’s effects on heart health due to its high saturated fat content. Nonetheless, it seems that coconut oil is actually quite heart healthy. Coconut oil raises HDL cholesterol more than many other types of fat. Additionally, it may also improve the ratio of low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol, to HDL cholesterol. Improving this ratio reduces the risk of heart disease.

One study investigated the health benefits of coconut oil in 40 women with excess belly fat. The researchers found that participants who took coconut oil every day experienced improved HDL cholesterol and a lower LDL-to-HDL ratio. In contrast, the group of people who took soybean oil daily had a decrease in HDL cholesterol and an increase in the LDL-to-HDL ratio.

Most studies have found these health benefits occur at a dosage of about 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of coconut oil per day. It’s sufficient to include this in cooking rather than eating spoonfuls of coconut oil.

Conclusion: Consuming two tablespoons (30 ml) of coconut oil per day may help improve HDL levels in the long run.

5. Quit smoking

Quitting smoking can decrease the risk of heart disease and lung cancer. Smoking raises the risk of numerous health problems, including heart disease and lung cancer. One of its adverse consequences is suppression of HDL cholesterol levels.

Some investigations have discovered that quitting smoking can increase HDL levels. Indeed, one study found no notable difference in HDL levels between former smokers and people who had never smoked. In a one-year research of more than 1,500 people who quit smoking found their HDL levels to be double the level of those  who returned to smoking within a year. The number of large HDL particles also increased, which further reduced the risk of heart disease. One research followed smokers who switched from conventional cigarettes to e-cigarettes for one year. They found that this change was associated with an increase in HDL cholesterol of 5 mg/dl, on average. When it comes to the impact of nicotine replacement patches on HDL levels, the research results have been mixed. One study also found that nicotine replacement therapy led to higher levels of HDL cholesterol. However, another analysis suggested that people who use nicotine patches likely won’t see increases in HDL levels until after replacement therapy is completed.

Even in studies where HDL cholesterol levels didn’t rise after people stopped smoking, HDL function increased, resulting in less inflammation and other beneficial effects on heart health.

Conclusion: Quitting smoking can increase HDL levels, improve HDL function and help to protect the heart.

6. Weight loss

When overweight and obese individuals lose weight, their HDL cholesterol levels usually rise.This benefit seems to occur whether weight loss is accomplished by calorie restriction, carb restriction, intermittent fasting, weight loss surgery or a combination of diet and training.

One research examined HDL levels in more than 3,000 overweight and obese Japanese adults who followed a lifestyle modification plan for 1 year.The researchers noticed that losing at least 6.7 lbs (3 kg) led to an improvement in HDL cholesterol of 4 mg/dl, on average.In another investigation, when overweight people with type 2 diabetes mellitus consumed calorie-restricted diets that provided 20-30% of calories from protein sources, they encountered significant increases in HDL cholesterol levels.

The solution to achieving and maintaining healthy HDL levels is choosing the type of food that makes it natural for you to lose weight and keep it off.

Conclusion: Almost all methods of weight loss, except crash dieting, have been shown to increase HDL levels in people who are obese.

7. Choose purple-colored fruits and vegetables

Eating purple-colored fruits and vegetables is a delicious way to potentially improve HDL cholesterol levels. Naturally purple produce is comprised of antioxidants known as anthocyanins. Investigations using anthocyanin extracts have shown that they help fight inflammation, protect cells from free radicals and may also increase HDL cholesterol levels.

In a 24-week study of 60 people with diabetes, those who took an anthocyanin supplement two times a day experienced a 20% rise in HDL cholesterol, on average, along with other enhancements in other heart health markers. In a different study, when people with cholesterol issues took an anthocyanin supplement for 12 weeks, their HDL cholesterol levels increased by 14%.

Although these studies used extracts instead of real food, there are various fruits and vegetables that are the source of anthocyanins. These include eggplant, purple corn, red cabbage, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries.

Conclusion: Eating fruits and vegetables abundant in anthocyanins helps to increase HDL cholesterol levels.

8. Consume fatty fish

The omega-3 fats in fatty fish provide major benefits to heart health, including a reduction in overall inflammation and better functioning of the cardiac cells.

Some studies show that consuming fatty fish or using fish oil can also help to raise low levels of HDL cholesterol.In a study of 30 heart disease sufferers, participants who consumed fatty fish four times per week encountered a significant increase in HDL cholesterol levels. The particle size of their HDL also increased.In another study, obese men who consumed herring fish 5 days per week for six weeks had a 6% increase in HDL cholesterol, compared with their levels after consuming lean pork and chicken breast five days a week.

Nonetheless, there are some studies that found no increase in HDL cholesterol in response to increased fish or omega-3 supplement intake.In addition to herring, other types of fatty fish that may help raise HDL cholesterol include salmon, sardines, mackerel, and anchovies.

Conclusion: Eating fatty fish several times per week may help increase HDL cholesterol levels and provide other benefits to heart health.

9. Avoid artificial trans fats

Synthetic trans fats have numerous adverse health effects due to their inflammatory characteristics. There are two main types of trans fats. One type occurs commonly in animal products, including full-fat dairy. In contrast, synthetic trans fats found in margarine and other processed foods are produced by adding hydrogen to unsaturated vegetable and seed oils. These fats are also known as modern trans fats or partially hydrogenated fats.

Studies have shown that, in addition to raising inflammation and adding to several health problems, these synthetic trans fats may decrease HDL cholesterol levels. In one study, researchers examined how people’s HDL cholesterol levels responded when they consumed different kinds of margarine. The study found that participants’ HDL cholesterol was 10% lower after eating margarine comprising partially hydrogenated soybean oil, compared to their levels after eating palm oil. Another controlled investigation followed forty adults who had foods high in several types of trans fats. They found that HDL levels in females were significantly lower after they ate food high in industrial trans fats, compared to food products containing naturally occurring trans fats.

To preserve heart health and keep HDL levels in the prescribed range, it’s useful to avoid all artificial trans fats.

Conclusion: Artificial trans fats have been shown to lower HDL levels and to increase inflammation, compared to other fats.

What is the take-home message?

Although HDL cholesterol levels are somewhat determined by genetics, there are numerous things a person can do to naturally increase their levels.

Luckily, the manners that boost HDL cholesterol levels often provide many other health benefits.

Angioplasty · Heart attack · Heart Diseases · heart health · Stent · Uncategorized

Life After Angioplasty – Your Guide to Angioplasty and Cardiac Stenting

Coronary angioplasty was developed in 1977 as an alternative to the much more invasive coronary artery bypass surgery as a way to open blocked arteries of the heart. For many patients, angioplasty can be a very effective treatment option, while other patients may be better suited for bypass surgery.
The blockages in coronary arteries can cause symptoms such as chest pain (angina) or shortness of breath. Sometimes, these blockages can result in a heart attack that can be successfully treated on an emergency basis with angioplasty. Angioplasty followed by stenting can restore the blood flow to the culprit artery.

Angioplasty – A Closer Look

Let’s get a closer look at the angioplasty procedure. Angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure, unlike coronary artery bypass surgery, your chest does not have to be opened. The angioplasty procedure is performed by a Heart specialist known as an interventional cardiologist. A small incision is made, usually in the groin or sometimes in the wrist, and a thin, flexible tube called a catheter is then inserted into an artery. The catheter is carefully guided through the artery and it eventually reaches the coronary vessels.

A special dye is then pumped through the catheter and the cardiologist uses an x-ray machine to see if there are blockages. Once the blockage or blockages are located, an extremely fine wire is positioned within the blockage. Then a catheter with a small, deflated balloon is threaded over the wire to the center of the blockage. The balloon is inflated and deflated several times and this compresses the blockage against the walls of the artery to restore the blood flow.

Angioplasty is not a cure for coronary artery blockage because a blockage can return even after angioplasty. One way to prevent the recurrence of the blockage is to insert a stent at the time of the angioplasty to keep the artery patent. A stent is an extremely small mesh tube made of metal. The first stents were made of just bare metal, but currently, many patients receive stents that have been coated with a medication that is released into the surrounding tissue to prevent scarring and re-blockage of the artery.

Angioplasty Risks

All the procedures, even the safest ones, carry risks. Possible complications of angioplasty are bleeding, a heart attack, a stroke or even an allergic reaction to the dye, but fortunately the complication rate is under one percent for all patients. Also, In rare cases, the procedure has to be stopped and the patient is referred for coronary artery bypass surgery.
After the angioplasty has been completed, typically the patient stays in the hospital for twelve to twenty-four hours. It’s quite likely to have some bruising and discoloration at the site of the catheter insertion. The area is also likely to be a bit sore, the patient may also notice a small lump or some drops of discharge from the site.

Most angioplasty patients report feeling more tired than usual for several days after the procedure, especially if they were in the middle of having a heart attack, in this case, the tiredness can last for up to six weeks. The patient should call his consultant cardiologist if he begins to have chest pain that feels like the pain he had before the procedure. If the chest pain is prolonged, lasting fifteen or twenty minutes call 911. The physician should also be notified if patients begin to have bloody or pus-filled discharge from the catheter insertion site.

After Angioplasty – The First Few Weeks

let’s discuss what you can do to keep you and your coronary arteries healthy from now on.
As discussed earlier, angioplasty with or without stenting, is not a cure for coronary artery disease. Follow up with your physician is a must. The patient should also follow an approved exercise program, cardiac diet, and medications prescribed by his physician.

You should always follow your doctor’s instructions after angioplasty. Keeping that in mind, here are some general guidelines:

  • The patient should take all the medications exactly as prescribed.
  • For the first five days after the procedure, you should only do light activities. Walking and even climbing stairs and taking care of routine things at home is usually ok. Once the five-day period is over, the doctor will likely release you to a moderate level of activity but don’t overdo it with activities that lead to tiredness, shortness of breath or chest pain.
  • The patient should not lift heavy objects or do strenuous exercise for four weeks after the procedure.The patient should also get his physician’s clearance before undertaking heavy manual labor.

After Angioplasty – Lifestyle Changes 

Lifestyle changes are important for most people to prevent recurrence of the disease. If you smoke, immediately enlist your physician’s help to stop.

Most hospitals that offer angioplasty have a cardiac rehabilitation program and you should strongly consider enrolling. Patients who successfully complete a cardiac rehab program are more likely to be living and doing well five years after their angioplasty than those who don’t complete a program.
A heart-healthy diet is a must and physician can refer the patient to a nutritionist for help. This is doubly important if the person has high cholesterol problems or diabetes. In general, a diet low in saturated fats with plenty of fruits and vegetables and good sources of lean protein is recommended. Heart-healthy fats (high in omega-3 fatty acids) include walnuts, wild caught salmon, sardines, and flaxseeds, as well as flaxseed oil, should also be included in your diet in moderate amounts.
With proper nutrition, exercise and close follow up with your physician, your chances of leading a healthy and vital life after angioplasty and stenting are excellent!

Heart attack · Heart Diseases · heart health · Stroke

Drinking One Beer a Day may Reduce the Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke

Consuming a glass of beer a day may prevent future cardiovascular events, according to a new research.

Researchers said average liquor consumption slows down the body’s natural loss of high-density lipoprotein (HDL). HDL cholesterol levels, commonly referred to as a good form of cholesterol, eliminates dangerous cholesterol from the body and decreases a person’s cardiovascular illness risk.

A research on over 80,000 Asian adults has revealed appealing results on this theory, but physicians have cautioned people that more research is needed before any concrete assumptions can be made.

So to be on the safer side, don’t start drinking a glass of beer every day just yet.

Pennsylvania State University scholars came up with the theory that men who consumed one to two alcohol-based drinks per day had a slow depletion in good cholesterol levels (HDL), in comparison to those who didn’t consume.

The Same rule applied to women  who consume a little quantity of alcohol daily, according to The Telegraph.

While the outcomes were pretty analogous regardless of whether the research’s individuals consumed beer or spirits,but scientists did observe that beer and not spirits had the biggest and more beneficial effect.

In reaction to the research’s results, Dr Nitin Shori, director at the Pharmacy2U online physician service, said: “While undetermined, this research seems to point out that there may be some health advantages in consuming little alcohol when it comes to lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases or stroke. But further research is required before any concrete results can be attracted.”

Alcohol is one of the biggest risks associated with the style of living  that leads to illness and loss of life, after obesity and smoking.The newest NHS guidance is that there is a safe level of liquor intake and neither women nor men should consume more than 14 units (1 unit=15 ml) of liquor weekly.

Dr Webberley Sally, the devoted GP for Oxford Online Drugstore, said: “There are so many inconsistent research results being released daily and with that, it is difficult to tell which health advice is misleading and which is not”

We do know that booze is bad for the liver to function properly and it aids to obesity, it can adversely affect sleep and psychological wellness, it has been connected to cancer along with lots of other illnesses such as cirrhosis and hepatitis.

Contrarily, other research results recommend that average booze can have some health advantages and there’s no question that a lot of people like to use such justifications to warrant their activities when reaching for a glass.

“The key is in the moderation message. Because too much consumption of liquor can certainly have a detrimental effect on the well-being of a person.”