A new study associated elevated levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the good kind, with decreased cancer risks among Type 2 diabetics. Doctors consider HDL cholesterol levels greater than 60 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) to be optimum. In addition to taking cholesterol medication, studies show that various lifestyle modifications can help raise your HDL to a helpful level.
Discovering the Beneficial Effect
Dr. Wenhui Zhao, M.D., from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, and colleagues did a of data collected from 14,169 men and 23,176 women with Type 2 diabetes. The researchers categorized patients by HDL-C levels to assess their cancer risks. Over 6.4 years of follow-up, they found that 3711 Type 2 diabetics had received cancer diagnoses. The inverse association between HDL-C and cancer likelihood was significant among both men and women.
The association remained when the investigators stratified it by race, body mass index, smoking status, or medication use. But excluding patients who received cancer diagnoses or died from it during the first two years of follow-up weakened the inverse association substantially.
Distinguishing Cholesterol Types
Cholesterol is an essential fatty substance or lipid that occurs in your bloodstream naturally. Your body needs a certain amount to function properly. If the two types of cholesterol confuse you, think of HDL as “healthy” and low-density lipoproteins (LDL) as “lousy.” Cholesterol gets its bad reputation from the latter.
Excess LDL amounts in your blood stream can become dangerous to your health and lead to potentially serious medical conditions. Common health factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, family history of early heart disease, and age can make controlling your cholesterol even more important.
High HDL cholesterol scavenges excess LDL, removing it from your blood. It reduces, reuses, and recycles LDL cholesterol by transporting it to your liver, which breaks it down so your body can eliminate it. Elevated HDL levels can lower your chances of developing heart disease and cut your dementia risk in half.
Adopting Multiple Ways to Increase Your HDL
Your liver makes most of the cholesterol in your blood. To regulate your levels, your doctor may prescribe Crestor (Rosuvastatin), a potent statin. It reduces your bad LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels while increasing your good HDL.
These three methods are effective at raising HDL levels:
Physical activity: Engaging in aerobic exercise 30 to 60 minutes on most days of the week can help pump up your HDL.
Maintain a healthy weight: Besides improving HDL levels, avoiding obesity reduces your risk for heart disease and many other conditions.
Don’t smoke: Tobacco lowers HDL, and quitting can increase your level.
In addition to having a healthy lifestyle, show that consuming these seven beverages and foods can help raise good cholesterol levels.
Kale juice: In a South Korean study, men with high cholesterol drank about five ounces of kale juice per day. After 12 weeks, their HDL cholesterol levels increased 27 percent.
Hot chocolate: Researchers at Japan’s Ochanomizu University gave healthy adult men a daily cocoa drink containing 26 grams (approximately a quarter cup) of cocoa, the amount in a rich cup of hot chocolate. After 12 weeks, their HDL levels rose 24 percent.
Orange juice: According to a British study, drinking three cups of orange juice a day for three weeks increased good cholesterol levels by 21 percent.
Alcohol: Various studies reveal that moderate alcohol consumption (one drink per day for women and two for men) increases HDL. Researchers found that men who drank two pints of beer a day for three weeks increased their HDL levels by 12 percent. Of all alcohol types, wine offers the most health advantages. But alcohol isn’t necessary to reap benefits. Per Dr. Chauncey Crandall, chief of the Palm Beach Cardiovascular Center’s Cardiac Transplant Program, studies have determined that organic grape juice is just as effective.
Cranberry juice: A study discovered that drinking about eight ounces of no-sugar-added cranberry juice cocktail raised HDL levels more than eight percent.
Eggs: For decades, everyone associated eggs with heart disease. But recent research confirms that they may lower your risk. A University of Connecticut study found that you can raise HDL levels by more than 15 percent by eating three whole eggs a day. The lecithin in egg yolks might help remove cholesterol from circulation.
Nuts: Studies have demonstrated that almonds, pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, and flaxseeds lower LDL. About an ounce a day can increase levels up to 12 percent.
Berries: Finnish researchers conducted a study on middle-aged adults with cardiovascular risk factors including high LDL cholesterol and low HDL levels. Subjects ate five ounces of strawberries, raspberries, lingonberries, and black currants (whole, pureed, or in juice form) per day for eight weeks. These berries raised their HDL levels by more than five percent. The study team speculated that the beneficial effects came from high levels of polyphenol antioxidants.