(By Dr. Al Sears, MD - Taken from an article entitled "What Is It About This Number?" published in The Doctor's House Call dated 19 January 2011)
Did you know there is no scientifically valid correlation between your total cholesterol count and the likelihood that you’ll develop heart disease?
But you and everyone else with a TV have been coerced into believing “high” cholesterol is bad for your heart.
It’s what drug companies want you to believe. They’ve become among the biggest corporations in the world by convincing you that you need their drug “cures” for cholesterol, depression, high blood pressure …
Meanwhile most of these drugs are really just treatments you have to take for the rest of your life. Their goal is to profit from your health, not cure you.
For example, how does the modern “health” industry explain the fact that 75 percent of the people who suffer heart attacks have normal total cholesterol?
The truth is, as long as your HDL is high enough, you have little if any risk of heart disease.
The Framingham Heart Study has been ongoing since the 1940s. It’s considered the most reliable data on heart disease because it has no interference from drug companies.
It has proved over the last 60 years that high levels of HDLs are directly related to a lower risk of heart disease.
Not only that, but it’s showed that raising HDL can reduce coronary disease regardless of LDL cholesterol. That’s because HDL removes plaque from your arteries. And it’s plaque buildup that really causes heart disease and heart attacks – not cholesterol.
In fact, if you want to beat heart disease without drugs, here are seven ways to raise your HDL levels naturally:
1. Niacin. Niacin has been found to raise HDL levels by as much as 24 percent. The best food sources of niacin are liver, chicken, beef, avocados, tomatoes and nuts. As always, stick with grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and organic produce and nuts. Or you can supplement. I recommend taking 500 mg of “sustained release” niacin a day.
2. Restore omega-3s to your diet. Wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef, free-range, organic poultry, nuts, olives, eggs and avocados are all rich in “good” fats. And cod liver oil – the best omega-3 supplement – will boost your HDL levels naturally.
3. Eat more protein, fewer carbohydrates. Replacing carbs with healthy proteins will lower your triglycerides and raise your HDL. The best protein sources are nuts, eggs, free-range poultry, grass-fed beef and wild-caught salmon.
4. Challenge your heart with high-intensity, short-duration, progressively challenging exercises. For example, these types of workouts, like my PACE program, boosts reserve capacity in your heart – critical for avoiding heart attacks – and raises HDL.
5. Enjoy a good brew. Drinking a beer a day decreases cholesterol levels, increases antioxidants and reduces levels of fibrinogen, a clot-producing protein.
6. Stop smoking. It sounds obvious, but if you smoke, you should stop. Not only does smoking lower your HDL, it constricts your blood vessels and raises your risk of heart attack in many other ways as well.
7. Drop the excess weight. Carrying excess pounds increases your risk of heart disease. Even a little weight reduction will raise your HDL levels.
I’m telling how to raise your HDL because I want you to have real alternatives to the drug-fueled culture of fear we’re exposed to every day. I want you to be empowered to make choices based on fact, not on information from commercials and media reports.