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According to an article on Body Ecology
- HDL (high density lipoprotein) is known as the"good" cholesterol because it can remove cholesterol from your arteries and take it back to your liver to be processed.
- The higher your HDL levels, the lower your risk for heart disease.
- LDL (low density lipoprotein) is commonly called the "bad" cholesterol and is a good indicator of your risk for fatal heart attacks, stroke, and heart disease. Low LDL cholesterol levels are desirable to prevent disease.
And interestingly enough, prebiotics play an important role. Prebiotics are indigestible food ingredients that stimulate the growth and maintenance of beneficial gut microbiota.
According to priog.org, here are the top food sources of prebiotics (keep in mind these are percentages found in the item per gram--meaning you'd have to have a ton of some of these to get the desirable amount of daily prebiotics into your system. To put it in perspective--eating over a pound of bananas?? Don't think so. This is why many people choose to take a prebiotic-rich supplement.):
1. Raw Chicory root: 64.6% prebiotic fiber by weight
2. Raw Jerusalem artichoke: 31.5% prebiotics by weight
(NOTE: Jerusalem artichoke is NOT the common green globe artichoke)
3. Raw Dandelion greens: 24.3% prebiotic fiber by weight
4. Raw Garlic: 17.5% prebiotics by weight
5. Raw Leek: 11.7% prebiotic fiber by weight
6. Raw Onion: 8.6% prebiotics by weight
7. Cooked Onion: 5% prebiotic fiber by weight
8. Raw Asparagus: 5% prebiotics by weight
9. Raw Wheat bran: 5% prebiotic fiber by weight
10. Whole Wheat flour, baked: 4.8% prebiotics by weight
11. Raw Banana: 1% prebiotic fiber by weight.
Prebiotics is just one of many ways to improve your heart health through raising your HDLs. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the most beneficial foods are:
- Whole grains, such as oatmeal, oat bran and whole-wheat products
- Nuts, such as walnuts, almonds and brazil nuts
- Plant sterols such as beta-sitosterol and -sitostanol (typically found in margarine spreads such as Promise activ or Benecol)
- Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, fish oil supplements, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
And of course tofu. . . According to http://www.livestrong.com: "Not only are you reducing your intake of saturated fat, which is known to increase LDL and lower HDL, but soy is also rich in heart-healthy fats, including both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. A cup of tofu provides more than 4 g of monounsaturated fat and more than 12 g of polyunsaturated fat."
Mark's Daily Apple