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  • Writer's pictureAshmita Boopathy Moturi

The Cholesterol that Counts!

During consultation, while listing all the health challenges, my clients go, “and yes Dr, I also have cholesterol…” and I respond, ”that’s good…so do I!”

What most people don’t realize is that Cholesterol is one of the most vital molecules in the body. It actually has some very important functions like maintaining the integrity of the cell membrane, balancing hormones and even play a key role in the immune system.  

While cholesterol is a complex substance, most of us are familiar with two of its primary components: LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol). Your HDL is in fact plays a pivotal role in clearing LDL from your arteries.

So far, both doctors and their patients have focused on reducing LDL cholesterol as a key part of their treatment regimen. However, new research shows that having too little HDL cholesterol may be more damaging and may even be more predictive of heart disease than LDL.

In fact, in people with heart disease, the most common cholesterol problem is too little HDL. Quite contradictory to popular belief, studies show that, those with healthy levels of HDL actually tend to live longer and enjoy better quality of life.

"Even if their total cholesterol and LDL levels are normal, people with reduced levels of HDL have an increased risk of early coronary artery disease," says Richard N. Fogoros, M.D.

HDL levels are typically lower in people who have metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that include obesity, increased blood pressure and high blood sugar levels.

Some good news:

Even a slight increase in HDL goes a long way. It's estimated that for every 1 mg/dl increase in HDL cholesterol, there is a 2% to 4% decrease in your risk of coronary heart disease.

Should you use drugs to raise HDL cholesterol?

Drug therapy has been less successful at raising HDL than at reducing LDL cholesterol. Statins in particular, are often quite poor at increasing HDL levels. While some newer statins may increase HDL, these drugs might not be good for people whose LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels are normal because, while raising the HDL, the drug will lower normal LDL and total cholesterol levels.

Here are some fastest strategies to naturally Increase your HDL:

Exercise: Aerobic exercise and strength training can increase your HDL if done correctly and regularly. Most busy professionals struggle with dedicating time required for an exercise regime. At my Detox centre we offer effective exercise routine that requires less than 15mins, just to keep the lipid balance. 

Maintain optimal body weight. Obesity can increase LDL cholesterol levels while reducing HDL. Losing weight can help increase HDL. Many struggle with weight loss, despite their best efforts of diet and exercise. I recommend a thorough gut cleanse and liver detox prior to starting your weight loss journey. This will also guarantee encouraging results.  

Of course…don't eat ‘trans fats’: Avoid these unhealthy, artery-clogging fats found in margarine, vegetable shortening, fried foods like French fries and fried chicken, doughnuts, cookies, pastries and crackers.

Eat more monounsaturated fats: Increase intake of fats such as olive oil, homemade peanut butter, avocados, etc.

Eat soluble fiber in fruits and vegetables. Apples, oranges, berries, seeds, nuts and oat bran are rich in soluble fiber

Eliminate or at the very least reduce refined carbohydrates like white sugar, white flour and white rice.

Feast on raw onions. Did you know…half a raw onion a day may raise HDL levels by as much as 30%?!!

Alcohol: One or two drinks a day may help to increase HDL levels. An ideal choice is red wine which is rich in antioxidants.

Warning: More than one or two drinks will do more harm than good. Be smart about alcohol…if the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t wear it!

Do NOT go on an ultra low-fat diet: Too little fat can be as bad as too much fat in your diet (by creating a deficiency in essential fatty acids). Low-fat diets have been linked to significant reductions in HDL cholesterol. For best results, eat a variety of healthy fats and avoid the bad ones like ‘trans fats’.

Quit smoking: This will increase your HDL levels.

Consider taking niacin: Several studies have found that niacin (vitamin B3) can increase HDL by 30% while lowering total cholesterol by 10% to 25%.

Get lots of omega-3: This essential fatty acid, found in oily fish like sardines and salmon, flaxseed and walnuts, can dramatically increase HDL cholesterol.

Consult with a naturopath regarding your options to enhance your lipid profile through Ozone therapies and other Intravenous Therapies that proven to be both safe and effective.

Reverse Fatty Liver: HLD is synthesised in the liver and it plays a key role in transporting the LDL (the bad cholesterol) to the liver where it gets flushed out of your system. As your liver begins to show signs of fatty liver disease Grade 1,2 or 3…the levels of HDL correspondingly begin to fall. Make it a priority to undergo a Liver Detox to reverse fatty liver. Your naturopath can help you there.  

Increase your HDL levels by using some or all of the above methods. Strive for a HDL level above 60.

Dr. Steven Gundry, an American physician, cardiac surgeon and cardiac surgery researcher once said, “Teaching people to eat doesn't make a lot of money. Nevertheless, most of us go into medicine because of a genuine desire to help people and optimize their health. One fateful morning, I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that I shouldn't be operating on patients and then teaching them to eat to avoid me in the future; I should teach them to eat so that I wouldn't have to operate on them in the first place!”

Make your lifestyle count. If I told you, a good Detox, healthy diet and moving your limbs a few minutes a day can add a few years to your life wouldn’t you be enthusiastic to do it?

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