Have a Case of Too Low Cholesterol? Drink Wine & Eat Chocolate!

30 Apr

Having low cholesterol levels is supposed to be a good thing, right? Until recently, I had never heard of having too low cholesterol levels… until I was told that mine is too low.

Each year I get a health screening at work, mostly because I’m really cheap and this allows me to pay less for insurance, but also because I sincerely love to brag about my impressive health stats! If I can’t use them to back up my bizarre eating habits and workout schedule, then well I’m no longer weird and healthy, but just plain weird. Not cool!

I have 'medical reasons' to drink wine and eat dark chocolate.

Understanding Low Cholesterol Levels

Until I found out about my too low cholesterol, I didn’t even know what numbers were added together to create your total cholesterol level. For any of you out there who are clueless like I was, your cholesterol is composed of your HDL (good), LDL (bad), and triglyceride levels. According to my insurance company, too low cholesterol is anything less than 125 mg/dL, while the American Heart Association, says anything greater than 200 mg/dL is too high. Here’s ranges defined by the AHA:

  • Low HDL (in an unflattering way)
    • Less than 40 mg/dL (for men)
    • Less than 50 mg/dL (for women)
    • High HDL (in a flattering way)
      • 60 mg/dL and above
      • LDL
        • Less than 100 mg/dL (Optimal)
        • 100 to 129 mg/dL (Near or above optimal)
        • 130 to 159 mg/dL (Borderline high)
        • 160 to 189 mg/dL (High)
        • 190 mg/dL and above (Very high)
        • Triglycerides*
          • Less than 150 mg/dL (Normal)
          • 150-199 mg/dL (Borderline high)
          • 200-499 mg/dL (High)
          • 500 mg/dL and up (Very high)
            *Meditec also says that levels shouldn’t go below 40 mg/dL for men and 35 mg/dL for women.

Truth be told, I was actually only one measly point under the normal range for cholesterol, but still, that’s not good enough! So I immediately turned to Google to look for healthy ways to raise cholesterol. Surprisingly there really wasn’t much information out there. Most of my searches for “having too low cholesterol” just produced results for ways to lower your cholesterol. Helpful.

Foods That Can Help Raise Cholesterol

At least year’s screening my HDL (good) cholesterol was too low, which can be caused by being a carb monger. So over the past year I’ve really, really, really cut back on the amount of carbs I was eating, to try and bring it up. That worked, but apparently I also cut out too much fat during this process. Oops.

After some tedious Googling, I finally found some articles with tips on raising too low cholesterol, in a low-carb manner. Some of the foods I found that can help to raise cholesterol in a healthy way are:

  • Nuts, such as walnuts and almonds
  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Red wine (1-2 glasses per day)
  • Salmon
  • Dark chocolate

So, now I have a legit medical reason to eat dark chocolate and drink wine everyday. Not bad!

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