Ask the Doctors July 2009 Issue

Ask The Doctors: 07/09

One natural way of increasing your HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C), or "good" cholesterol, is to do aerobic exercise. If you’re already exercising, try to increase the duration and frequency of your workouts. Losing weight is another method of raising your HDL-C. Dietary measures, such as reducing your intake of saturated fats and trans-fats, and raising the proportion of unsaturated fats, can help bump up your HDL-C. Using olive oil instead of butter, reducing the quantity of red meat and dairy fat, and increasing the amount of bran and ocean fish you eat, can assist in this process. Often times, these lifestyle approaches can be challenging (more difficult than taking a pill), but if you stick with them, they will help improve your lipids. Niacin, though, is still the most effective means of raising HDL-C, sometimes by 30 percent. The flushing which often occurs after taking niacin is uncomfortable, but can be reduced by taking a baby aspirin 30-60 minutes beforehand, as well as avoiding hot beverages or alcohol around that time.

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