HDL Cholesterol, also known as good cholesterol is very important for your health, especially to clean up the bad cholesterol. In order to lower your risk of heart disease, it is always recommended to lower your “bad” low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and increase the “good” high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in your body. Many studies have so far shown that low levels of HDL cholesterol – less than 40 mg/dL for men and less than 50 mg/dL for women can increase the overall risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) and heart attacks. A person with HDL levels below 35 mg/dL is supposed to have eight times the risk of CAD than a person with higher HDL levels.1 Let’s check out some ways you can raise HDL cholesterol levels naturally:
Studies have found out that doing regular aerobic exercises can increase the HDL cholesterol by around 5 percent. You can try brisk walking, jogging, swimming or playing some sport for at least 30 minutes, 5 times a week. Studies have been able to prove conclusively that the more you exercise, greater the effect it will have on your body.2
We all know that smoking is injurious to health. Quitting the cigarette butt can increase your HDL cholesterol by up to 10 percent. Even if you are a passive smoker, your HDL cholestrol levels can still reduce. Smoking causes cholesterol built up in your blood vessels, making it harder for HDL to do the job of sweeping it out.3
Cut Your Sugar Intake
A study done by Emory University in Atlanta, showed that increased sugar intake lowers blood HDL levels. The results of the study which evaluated the diets of 6,113 adults showed that, people with the highest levels of good cholesterol had diets in which sugar accounted for just 5 percent or less of their calories.
Consume Red Wine
Consuming alcohol in low amounts, especially red wine has been recommended for improved cardio vascular health. It is usually suggested that, men can have one or two glasses of red wine daily while women can consume one. However, consuming alcohol is still considered to be a personal choice.4
Drink Orange Juice
If alcohol is something you wish to avoid, a better alternative is to drink fresh orange juice. Studies have proved that consuming at least 750 ml of orange juice every day can increase your HDL cholesterol levels by around 21%.5
Consume Healthy Fats
Fats have traditionally got a bad rap and has been an exception in most diets. The trick is to identify the “good” fats from the “bad” ones. Add fats, especially mono and polyunsaturated fats in your daily diet. Avoid trans fat foods that can lower your HDL levels.
Foods You Can Try To Increase Your HDL Cholesterol Levels
- Whole grains, such as oatmeal, oat bran and whole-wheat products.
- Nuts, such as walnuts, almonds and brazil nuts.
- Omega-3 fatty acids rich foods such as fatty fish, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil.6
|↑1||LDL and HDL: “Bad” and “Good” Cholesterol, CDC.|
|↑2||Thompson, Paul D., et al. “Effect of prolonged exercise training without weight loss on high-density lipoprotein metabolism in overweight men.” Metabolism 46.2 (1997): 217-223.|
|↑3||Garrison, R. J., et al. “Cigarette smoking and HDL cholesterol the Framingham offspring study.” Atherosclerosis 30.1 (1978): 17-25.|
|↑4||Yamamoto, Akira, et al. “Life style and cardiovascular risk factors in the Japanese population-from an epidemiological survey on serum lipid levels in Japan 1990. Part 1: influence of life style and excess body weight on HDL-cholesterol and other lipid parameters in men.” Journal of atherosclerosis and thrombosis 10.3 (2003): 165-175.|
|↑5||Kurowska, Elzbieta M., et al. “HDL-cholesterol-raising effect of orange juice in subjects with hypercholesterolemia.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 72.5 (2000): 1095-1100.|
|↑6||Make your lifestyle count, Mayo Clinic.|