Ways to Raise HDL Cholesterol

Ways to Raise HDL Cholesterol

If you’re focused on lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol, you might overlook the other “good” kind of cholesterol in your body: high-density lipoprotein (HDL). “HDL cholesterol is a scavenger that cleans up bad cholesterol,” explains cardiologist Marla Mendelson, MD, medical director of the Center for Women's Cardiovascular Health at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute in Chicago. Having high levels of HDL cholesterol (at least 60 mg/dL) helps protect against heart disease and offers possibly even wider health benefits. An analysis of health information from 2,476 adults published in the journal Gut showed that the higher a person’s HDL level, the lower their risk for colon cancer. Your other cholesterol counts still matter — people with heart disease should aim for total cholesterol of under 200 mg/dL and LDL under 100 mg/dL — but taking steps to raise good cholesterol is an important part of the equation.

Get Moving With Exercise
It's time to get acquainted with workouts. And, in case you were worried, research shows it’s never too late to get started. In fact, a review of clinical trials published in Preventing Chronic Disease looked at the effect of exercise on HDL cholesterol and found that couch potatoes benefit the most from increasing physical activity. You’ll get extra brownie points — about a 6.5 mg/dL increase in HDL — the longer you stick with it. In the study, the greatest benefits of physical activity on good cholesterol came from programs that continued for a long period of time. Overall, to raise good cholesterol levels, aim for amix of activities, including aerobic and resistance training. And that's good news, because variety is likely to keep you interested.

• Quit Smoking
Add another reason to the reasons-to-quit column. Smoking cigarettes makes it easier for cholesterol to collect in your blood vessels and makes it harder for HDL to do the job of sweeping it out, says Dr. Mendelson. Research shows quitting has a direct effect on raising good cholesterol. In a study of almost 1,000 pack-a-day smokers, those who were able to quit over the course of a year had improved HDL levels, despite any weight gain.

• Cut Your Sugar Intake
• When researchers from Emory University in Atlanta evaluated the diets of 6,113 adults, they found that the more calories that came from added sugar, the lower the HDL levels. The results, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, underscore the importance of cutting back on the “empty” carb calories that come from high-sugar foods. People with the highest levels of good cholesterol had diets in which sugar accounted for just 5 percent or less of their calories.

• Pay Attention to Purple Foods
• A full rainbow of fruits and vegetables is your best strategy for getting a wide variety of nutrients, but those in rich in the colors red and purple may both raise good cholesterol and lower LDL levels. Anthocyanins are the chemicals in these fruits and vegetables that create these vivid colors. A Chinese study of 120 people given anthocyanin supplements showed increased HDL concentrations — 13.7 percent compared with 2.8 percent in the placebo group — and decreased LDL cholesterol. But you don’t need a supplement when you can simply add HDL-raising food sources like plums, grapes, purple cabbage, eggplant, and raspberries to your diet. Plus eating more fruits and veggies (in addition to whole grains) will increase your fiber, which has been shown to help control overall cholesterol levels — aim for about 25 grams a day.

Eat Fatty Fish
Try to increase your intake of healthy fatty fish, like salmon — once or twice a week is a good goal, says Elisabetta Politi, MPH, RD, CDE, nutrition director of the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, N.C. Does this seem contrary to the low-fat mantra you repeat daily? It’s true that keeping saturated fats low helps reduce LDL cholesterol, but if you cut all fats out of your diet, you will end up with low HDL as well. Instead, include healthy portions (total calories from fat should be less than 30 to 35 percent daily) of fatty fish, olive oil, and other heart-healthy non-animal-based sources of fat to raise good cholesterol. more  

View all 23 comments Below 23 comments
Thanks Durga ji,Ramesh ji and Umesh ji more  
Thanks for Dr raj for his wonderful explanation for bad cholesterol ie ldc and good cholesterol ie Hde , further specifying the limit 200mg and 100 mg respectively .Article is highly impressive and touch the nerve of topic ie prevention of heart disease We request you to further elaborate the subject and enlarge the content as kind of medicines required for reducing the bad cholesterol , dietry control is must and important to contain the fat accumulation in nerves/body , which is vital to increase bad cholesterol, kindly specify that what should be diet routine in breakfast , lunch and dinner to get better control logically. Kind of exercises needed which not only reduce bad cholesterol but improve the flow of blood is utmost important ; here again we request macro analysis of our learned doctor , this would be very useful overall. more  
Thanks Ramesh ji, Joshi ji and Rajesh ji. more  
Rajesh ji correct says, No one will to quit bad habits. more  
Thanks Durga ji.This is exactly what one should do.Doctor bolta hai meetha chhod do,tala hua chhod do,biwi bolti hai Daru chhod do.Yeh kya magajmari hai.Hum kuch nahi chhodenge.Agar chhodna hai toh waqt aane pe duniya chhod denge. more  
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