Recently my workplace invited us to participate in a health screening where they performed a little prick-test on our finger. The blood drawn was tested to determine our numbers which included glucose levels, blood pressure and cholesterol. I was eager to participate because I really wanted to know how much better I’m doing on the “inside.” Everything was fantastic; well-below average and that felt so good! The only thing I really need to work on is upping my “good” cholesterol: HDLs. If you don’t know what your numbers are, or what I’m even talking about, below are the desirable goals that we are all shooting for and what my numbers actually were.
Total Cholesterol: <200mg/dL is Optimal
Good Cholesterol (HDLs): >60mg/dL
Bad Cholesterol (LDLs): <100mg/dL is Optimal
Triglycerides: <150mg/dL is Normal
Fasting Glucose: <100mg/dL is Normal
The American Heart Association recommends adults over 20 have a fasting lipoprotein profile completed. If you are interested in your numbers, talk to your physician. Getting to or maintaining great numbers will help to reduce your risk of coronary heart disease and/or diabetes.
My fasting glucose result above is probably the one I'm most proud of. In the old days, I was pre-diabetic. In fact, if I can recall correctly, my number was 119. At the time, I had an endocrinologist and she immediately put me on Metformin, a common prescription for prediabetics. It was a scary time for me. I hated being on that medicine and hated to think that I was on my way to full blown Type II Diabetes...but it obviously didn't scare me enough to lose weight at the time. I'm so happy to say that I have been off this particular medication for more than a year now. So that number above is all my doing!
Currently, I am still on a cholesterol medicine due to my family history. But my doc reduced the dose in March and if all goes well, I'll be off before the end of the year!
So, in researching ways to raise my good cholesterol, I found it was not that difficult. I’m already doing many of them (aerobic exercise, lose weight), but the other things I can do is to increase monounsaturated fat and soluble fiber into my diet. Want to up YOUR monounsaturated fat levels and increase soluble fiber? Here’s what you do: add good oils like canola, avocado or olive oil into your day. And here’s one you are probably already doing, too: eat peanut butter! Nuts and fish and other foods containing omega-3 fatty acids are also great. I’ve begun keeping a bag of almonds in my car, and I eat 10 on my way to work. Soluble fibers can be found in oats, fruits and veggies, and legumes, so have some oatmeal for breakfast tomorrow and work it into your weekly menu!