On September 29 we celebrated World Heart Day, an excellent pretext to cultivate heart-healthy habits, as well as to host HDL because, where this benevolent guest is sheltered, there is no room for excess of the so-called bad cholesterol or LDL. Based on the need to avoid heart attacks, coronary ailments, heart failure and cerebral strokes, specialists are committed to raising HDL, whose protective function is key. So more cholesterol can be good for your arteries, but not just any type of cholesterol, but exclusively the so-called "HDL", which has a beneficial function within the human body, at least as far as blood circulation is concerned. Levels of this should not drop below 40 mg / dl (milligrams per deciliter), according to Professor Ernst J. Schaefer.
Although they are necessary elements for life, when the amount of circulating LDL-cholesterol is excessive, it is called hypercholesterolemia and it accumulates in the wall of the arteries, contributing to the formation of atheroma plaques, which are the lesions found in atherosclerosis.
These plaques are obstructing the interior of the arteries and favor the appearance of cardiovascular diseases. Depending on the location of the clogged arteries, the patient may have heart disease (angina pectoris or myocardial infarction), cerebral thrombosis, or arterial disease of the lower extremities. Another type of lipoproteins are those of high density or HDL, in charge of collecting the excess cholesterol from the tissues. The cholesterol transported by these particles takes the opposite or inverse direction to that of LDL, that is, from the arterial walls or cells of other tissues, to the liver, from where it is eliminated through the bile, or recycled to other functions.
HDL removes excess cholesterol from the body, so its effect is beneficial; hence the name "good cholesterol" is used to refer to cholesterol carried by HDL. For Dr. Schaefer, "it has already been shown that controlling blood pressure and blood glucose, quitting smoking and reducing total cholesterol and LDL, reduce cardiovascular risk." “The next frontier - he explains will be to show that increasing HDL cholesterol in people with low values improves the situation of the arterial walls. In fact, women have higher HDL levels than men, which partially protects them from heart disease "
HOW TO RAISE HDL
Levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol in the body can be raised as follows:
• Consume soluble fiber, present in oatmeal, barley, lentils, Brussels sprouts, peas, beans, apples, blackberries, pears, raisins, oranges, grapefruit, dates, figs, plums, apricots, broccoli, cassava and potatoes.
• Doing physical exercise, such as walking 30 minutes a day. The heart is a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly to ensure efficient pumping of blood with each beat.
• Quitting smoking and consuming alcohol in moderation.
• Losing weight if necessary (the calculation of the body mass index and the measurement of the waist circumference, allow to establish it).
• Maintaining a diet low in animal fat and sugar.
• Eat at least 3 servings a week of salmon, sardines, anchovies, or mackerel. Walnuts, soybeans, and ground flax are also good. Another possibility is to take fish oil and omega 3 in capsules. Monounsaturated fats are found mostly in olive oil and olives, canola oil, avocado, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and pistachios.