Dietary sources to raise HDL cholesterol

Patient

Q: I' am a woman age 60 yrs.old.I take Niasin 500 everyday,for cholesterol lowering factors.My triglycerides 163,& LDL 57 are normal,my HDL is a little low at 32.I would like to know what foods and vitamin suppliments I may use to improve my HDL levels. I am also diabetic and have slightly elevated blood-pressure for which I also take medication.

Doctor

A:   Your LDL cholesterol level is within optimal range which is <100mg/dL. Your triglycerides are 163mg/dL and just above the normal range which is <150mg/dL. With HDL cholesterol levels, higher levels are better and a level >60mg/dL provides some protection against heart disease. To improve your level of HDL (good) cholesterol I would advise weight management, increasing daily physical activity and smoking cessation. Substitution of monounsaturated for saturated fatty acids can raise HDL-cholesterol. In addition, medications that lower HDL-cholesterol (beta blockers, benzodiazepines, and androgens) should be discontinued, if possible. Fish oil consumption lowers serum triglyceride concentrations by 25 to 30 % and fish oil supplementation also modestly raises HDL-C concentrations. Rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids come from fatty fish, especially salmon, and plant sources such as flaxseed and flaxseed oil, canola oil, soybean oil, and nuts. The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids have been studied in populations with high intakes of omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (such as the Eskimos) and a high intake of these has been associated with lower rates of heart disease .

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