The Blood Lipid Ratio Everyone Should Watch
As many of you know, I’ve long said cholesterol isn’t the real culprit when it comes to heart disease, inflammation is. That hasn’t changed, but research shows there is another number you should watch—your triglyceride/HDL cholesterol ratio.
Keeping your beneficial HDL cholesterol numbers up and reducing your triglycerides is critical to cardiovascular health. Ideally, you want no more than a 2.1 ratio of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol. So, if your triglycerides are 100 mg/dl, your HDL cholesterol should be 50 mg/dl. Anything under 3.5 is considered a good ratio, but I don’t like to see a ratio that’s over 5. (Learn more about this ratio in my new book, The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won't Prevent Heart Disease—and the Statin-Free Plan That Will, available at www.amazon.com and other book retailers.)
If your HDL/triglyceride ratio is high, how can you lower it? One of the most powerful solutions I’ve found is an extract called Bergamonte, which comes from the Bergamot orange grown in the Calabria area of Italy. Research has shown it helps to both reduce triglycerides and increase HDL cholesterol levels. Another important benefit is that Bergamonte helps to reduce blood glucose levels.
The research that turned me on to Bergamonte was conducted by Italian pharmacobiologists in 2011. In their trial, they documented significant reductions in triglycerides and blood sugar, along with a solid boost for the Bergamonte group. The findings were so powerful that I’ve just added Bergamonte to my Advanced Cholesterol Solutions formula.
Plus, lifestyle changes can also help your triglyceride/HDL ratio.
To lower your triglycerides:
- Reduce your intake of sugar and processed carbohydrates which can raise your triglycerides.
- Keep your weight down. The lower your weight, the lower your triglycerides, so weight loss and weight management are key to lowering triglyceride levels.
- Take omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) which help promote normal triglyceride levels. For triglyceride support, take 2–3 grams daily in divided doses.
To raise your HDL cholesterol:
- Take niacin (vitamin B3). Since it can cause flushing, my recommendation is that you start with 250 mg of niacin three times daily, and slowly work up to 1–2 grams in divided doses three times a day.
- Get regular, physical exercise. Strive for 30–60 minutes of aerobic activity three to five days a week.
- Drink red wine in moderation. Red wine helps to boost HDL cholesterol, plus it contains resveratrol, a phytonutrient with cardio-protective benefits.
- Diet is crucial. Avoid processed foods, as well as those high in sugar and trans fats. Instead, opt for foods that are rich in heart-healthy fats and soluble fiber.
Now it’s your turn: Have you had your triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels tested?
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Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy. More About Dr. Sinatra
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