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How To Improve Good Cholesterol

Healthy Habits To Improve Your Cholesterol

Nutrition : How to Increase Good Cholesterol in Blood Levels
  • Diabetes

Research shows that high levels of high-density lipoprotein , also known as “good” cholesterol, can protect you against heart disease, heart attacks, and diabetes. HDL acts as an industrial vacuum by cleaning up low-density lipoprotein , known as “bad” cholesterol, and transporting it back to the liver where it is broken down and passed out of the body. Read on to learn about five lifestyle factors that can help boost your HDL levels.

1. Eat a Healthy Diet

Making modifications to your diet, even after years of unhealthy eating, might help lower your bad cholesterol, improve your good cholesterol, and help you manage your diabetes.

  • Avoid unhealthy fats. Healthy eating means avoiding unhealthy fats that raise LDL levels and choosing healthier fats instead, such as those found in olive oil, avocados, and nuts.
  • Increase your fiber. Lower your LDL levels with soluble fiber found in foods such as oatmeal, kidney beans, apples, pears, barley, and prunes.
  • Eat omega-3 fatty acids. Although foods containing omega-3 fatty acidssuch as salmon, halibut, and herringdon’t decrease LDL levels, they may reduce your blood pressure and your risk of developing blood clots.

2. Increase Your Physical Activity

Stay motivated with an exercise partner or exercise group, and look for ways to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine. Try taking the stairs rather than the elevator, and if you have a desk job, try to take frequent walks during the day.

Appropriate Levels Of Hdl Cholesterol Helps Eradicate Other Types Of Cholesterol From The System Heres How You Can Increase Your Good Cholesterol Levels To Keep Diseases At Bay

Written by Arushi Bidhuri | Updated : November 29, 2021 9:05 PM IST

High-density lipoprotein cholesterol is referred to as good cholesterol since it promotes the elimination of other kinds of cholesterol from the system. Increased HDL cholesterol levels are related to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Cholesterol is a waxy compound found in all of the cells that serves various purposes, including facilitating the formation of the bodys cells. Its connected to lipoproteins and travels through the system.

HDL collects extra cholesterol in the blood and transports it to the liver, where it is broken down and eliminated from the body. While the body requires a certain amount of cholesterol to function, having too much cholesterol in the bloodstream increases the risk of developing heart disease. People with naturally higher levels of HDL cholesterol are less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. HDL levels are frequently lower in patients with metabolic syndrome, a group of disorders that includes obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Aside from aiding weight loss, greater physical activity can reduce triglycerides, the most prevalent form of fat in the body, while improving HDL levels.

What Are The Good And Bad Types Of Cholesterol

Low-density lipoprotein is bad cholesterol. The more LDL you have in your blood, the higher your risk of heart disease. High-density lipoprotein is good cholesterol. This type lowers your risk of heart disease.

Triglycerides are another type of fat in your blood. People with diabetes and those who are at risk of diabetes tend to have high triglycerides. When you make changes in your lifestyle to improve your cholesterol levels, you want to lower LDL, raise HDL, and lower triglycerides.

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Easy Ways To Raise Good Cholesterol And Avoid A Heart Attack

Sometimes its easier to start doing something healthy than to stop doing something unhealthy. Here are some easy, tasty ways to raise your HDL healthy cholesterol and lower your LDL lousy cholesterol.

The National Institutes of Health says that a desirable total cholesterol level is under 200.

You want your LDLthe main source of cholesterol buildup and blockage in your arteriesto be under 100.

Your HDLthe street-sweeper that removes extra cholesterol from your arteries and sends it to your livershould be 60 or higher for maximum heart and stroke protection.

Add these foods to your diet to raise your HDL :

  • Avocado and avocado oil
  • Beans and legumes such as lentils and peas
  • Chia seeds
  • Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, sardines and rainbow trout
  • Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
  • High-fiber fruit such as prunes, apples and pears
  • Nuts and seeds such as Brazil nuts, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans and cashews
  • Olives and extra-virgin olive oil
  • Soy
  • Whole grains such as oatmeal, 100% whole grain bread and brown rice

Skepticism About The Hdl Hypothesis

15 Foods Proven To Increase Your Good Cholesterol (HDL ...

The cholesterol contained within HDL is known to be inversely related to cardiovascular disease however, several failed clinical trials have created doubt HDLs ability to reverse atherosclerosis in patients. Several of these trials aimed at raising HDL cholesterol. Large outcome trials using niacin, fibrates, or cholesterol-ester-transfer-protein inhibitors were performed but overall showed negative results or were only positive in subgroups . These studies showed that simply raising HDL cholesterol will not reverse atherosclerosis. These negative studies were followed up with genetic studies, which indicated that low HDL cholesterol is not causally linked to atherosclerotic events . A potential explanation for these inconsistent studies is due to the fact that HDL can be dysfunctional and lose their protective properties, such as in diabetes or inflammation. In periods of inflammation, apolipoprotein AI exhibits extensive posttranslational modifications through oxidative processes, particularly by myeloperoxidase, a peroxidase enzyme expressed in neutrophil granulocytes. The myeloperoxidase pathway inhibits cholesterol efflux causes HDL to lose its endothelial cell protective effects .

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Sports & Exercise To Lower Bad Cholesterollevel In Blood

Exercising regularly can help lower cholesterol without medication and raise HDL levels, especially when youâre exercising three or more times a week.

Thus, blood cholesterol can be lowered with sports by including some exercises in daily life such as walking, jogging, or cycling.

Harmful Blood Cholesterol can also be lowered with mental exercise through yoga and meditation.

People with cardiovascular disease should consult their physician before engaging in any intense physical activities when trying to lower blood cholesterol with exercise.

How Can I Raise My Hdl Level

If your HDL level is too low, lifestyle changes may help. These changes may also help prevent other diseases, and make you feel better overall:

  • Eat a healthy diet. To raise your HDL level, you need to eat good fats instead of bad fats. This means limiting saturated fats, which include full-fat milk and cheese, high-fat meats like sausage and bacon, and foods made with butter, lard, and shortening. You should also avoid trans fats, which may be in some margarines, fried foods, and processed foods like baked goods. Instead, eat unsaturated fats, which are found in avocado, vegetable oils like olive oil, and nuts. Limit carbohydrates, especially sugar. Also try to eat more foods naturally high in fiber, such as oatmeal and beans.
  • Stay at a healthy weight. You can boost your HDL level by losing weight, especially if you have lots of fat around your waist.
  • Exercise. Getting regular exercise can raise your HDL level, as well as lower your LDL. You should try to do 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise on most, if not all, days.
  • Avoid cigarettes.Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke can lower your HDL level. If you are a smoker, ask your health care provider for help in finding the best way for you to quit. You should also try to avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Limit alcohol. Moderate alcohol may lower your HDL level, although more studies are needed to confirm that. What we do know is that too much alcohol can make you gain weight, and that lowers your HDL level.

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Facts About Good Cholesterol

  • HDL cholesterol normally makes up 20%-30% of your total blood cholesterol.
  • Theres is evidence that HDL helps protect against the accumulation of plaques in the arteries.
  • Research suggests that a five-point drop in HDL cholesterol is linked to a 25% increase in heart disease risk.
  • In prospective studies that is, studies that follow participants for a certain period to watch for outcomes HDL usually proves to be the lipid risk factor most linked to heart disease risk.
  • HDL cholesterol levels are thought to have a genetic factor in some people.
  • Women typically have higher HDL cholesterol levels than men. About a third of men and about a fifth of women have HDL levels below 40 mg/dL. Doctors consider levels of less than 40 mg/dL to be low.

Researchers from the Netherlands who analyzed 60 studies concluded that the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL is a better marker for coronary artery disease than LDL measurement alone.

Boosting HDL is the next frontier in heart disease prevention, says P.K. Shah, MD, director of cardiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Shah says that if the new drugs designed to increase HDL levels prove effective, they could potentially reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes by 80% to 90% and save millions of lives. HDL-boosting drugs are now being tested.

Saturated And Unsaturated Fat

Nutrition & Diets : How to Improve HDL

There are 2 main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Eating too many foods high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in your blood.

Most people in the UK eat too much saturated fat.

Foods high in saturated fat include:

  • meat pies
  • cakes and biscuits
  • foods containing coconut or palm oil

Eating foods that contain unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat can actually help reduce cholesterol levels.

Try to replace foods containing saturated fats with small amounts of foods high in unsaturated fats, such as:

  • oily fish such as mackerel and salmon
  • nuts such as almonds and cashews
  • seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • avocados
  • vegetable oils and spreads such as rapeseed or vegetable oil, sunflower, olive, corn and walnut oils

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Consider Plant Sterols And Stanols

Multiple types of supplements show promise for managing cholesterol.

Plant stanols and sterols are plant versions of cholesterol. Because they resemble cholesterol, they are absorbed from the diet like cholesterol.

However, because parts of their chemistry are different from human cholesterol, they do not contribute to clogged arteries.

Instead, they reduce cholesterol levels by competing with human cholesterol. When plant sterols are absorbed from the diet, this replaces the absorption of cholesterol.

Small amounts of plant stanols and sterols are naturally found in vegetable oils, and are also added to certain oils and butter substitutes.

One study of 60 men and women found consuming yogurt with one gram of plant stanols reduced LDL by about 15%, compared to a placebo. Another study showed they decreased LDL by 20% .

In spite of these benefits to cholesterol, available studies have not proven that stanols or sterols decrease the risk of heart disease. The higher doses in supplements are not as well tested as the small doses in vegetable oils .


Plant stanols and sterols in vegetable oil or margarines compete with cholesterol absorption and reduce LDL by up to 20%. They are not proven to reduce heart disease.

There is strong evidence that fish oil and soluble fiber improve cholesterol and promote heart health. Another supplement, coenzyme Q10, is showing promise in improving cholesterol, although its long-term benefits are not yet known.

More Ways To Improve Your Cholesterol Levels

  • Weigh less: Losing weight can positively impact HDL and LDL cholesterol numbers
  • Go with your gut: Research shows that the microbes in your stomach can influence your cholesterol levels and heart disease risk, so eating probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and fermented foods daily is a good idea
  • Talk with your doc: Before making dramatic changes to your diet or exercise routine, talk with your doctor about your cholesterol levels and how they affect your risk for heart disease and stroke
  • Find out how healthy your heart is. Our free Heart Risk Assessment can help you pinpoint your personal risk factors for heart disease so you can start taking steps to decrease them today.

    If you think someone is having a heart attack or stroke, call 911 immediately.

    If you or someone in your family experiences chest pain, one of our many Medical City Healthcare emergency locations or Accredited Chest Pain Centers has you covered. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

    Find a fast Medical City ER near you or visit Medical City Virtual Carefor non-emergency medical treatment from your computer or smartphone.

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    Interpreting Hdl Cholesterol Levels

    HDL levels below 40 mg/dL are associated with an increased risk of CAD, even in people whose total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels are normal. HDL levels between 40 and 60 mg/dL are considered “normal,” and do not very much affect the risk of CAD one way or the other. However, HDL levels greater than 60 mg/dL are actually associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

    In other words, the dogma has been: the higher the HDL levels, the better.

    While this belief is still thought to be almost always true, in recent years a fly has been found in the ointment. Drug companies have spent billions of dollars developing drugs that increase HDL cholesterol levels. However, to the dismay of all, these drugs have failed to reduce cardiac riskdespite the fact that they make HDL levels go up. Development of at least two of these drugs has now been halted. So the HDL story is more complex than scientists originally had hoped.

    Astragalus To Lower Bad Cholesterol In Blood

    15 Foods Proven To Increase Your Good Cholesterol (HDL ...

    Astragalus is an herb used to support the immune system in traditional Chinese medicine, and it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

    Limited studies suggest that astragalus may have some benefits for the heart.

    More research is needed to find out how astragalus may affect bad cholesterol levels and heart health in general.

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    Path To Improved Health

    There are 2 main types of cholesterol:

    • Low-density lipoprotein .This delivers cholesterol to the body. This is called bad cholesterol. You want a low level of this type.
    • High-density lipoprotein .This removes cholesterol from the bloodstream. This is called good cholesterol. You want a high level of this type.

    A high level of LDL is bad for your body. Likewise, a low level of HDL is bad for you. If your doctor says you need to improve your cholesterol, youll need to lower your LDL and increase your HDL. Medicines can help with this. But the simplest way to improve your cholesterol is through lifestyle changes.

    How Can I Raise My Hdl In A Week

    Everything You Need to Know About Cholesterol Exercise. To boost your HDL, get moving. Quit smoking. Breaking the tobacco habit can raise your HDL levels in a matter of a few weeks. Lose weight. Reduce sugar intake. Choose healthier fats. Eat fatty fish. Add fiber to your diet. Consume alcohol only in moderation.

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    Ways To Raise Hdl Cholesterol

    Youve probably heard of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol the good and the bad, respectively. But did you know there are effective ways you can raise HDL cholesterol levels and protect your heart health?

    HDL cholesterol carries excess cholesterol to your liver so it doesnt build up in your bloodstream. But when LDL cholesterol moves cholesterol throughout your body, it can build up in the walls of the arteries, making them hard and narrow. If you have too little HDL cholesterol and too much LDL, you may be diagnosed with high cholesterol, a condition that can lead to atherosclerosis, angina , heart attack, and stroke.

    Read on to find ways to boost HDL cholesterol and the evidence behind them.

    Foods That Lower Cholesterol

    How to Increase Low HDL Cholesterol

    1. Vegetables

    No doubt about it, nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory vegetables are one of the most high-antioxidant foods available. Loaded with phytochemicals that fight free radical damage, they slow down the aging process and keep arteries flexible and healthy. Many dark leafy greens, like spinach and kale, contain very few calories but offer protection against heart attacks by helping artery walls stay clear of cholesterol buildup.

    While nearly every type is a good choice, vegetables including benefit-rich beets, onions, cabbage, broccoli and artichokes are especially useful for upping your fiber intake and protecting heart health.

    2. Nuts

    Nuts of all kinds make a good source of healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. They also provide a decent amount of fiber. Certain nuts, including almonds, specifically supply antioxidant flavonoids, plant-based compounds that improve artery health and reduce inflammation.

    Studies show nuts can lower bad LDL levels, especially in individuals with high cholesterol and diabetes. They can help prevent damage from forming within artery walls and protect against dangerous cholesterol plaque buildup, in addition to fighting weight gain and obesity.

    3. Chia Seeds and Flaxseeds

    4. Olive Oil

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    Balancing Hdl Cholesterol And Ldl Cholesterol

    You see, there are two types of cholesterol HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. And what youll be striving for is a healthy balance between the two.

    If your doctor says that your cholesterol is too high, what he means is that youve got problems with too low a level of HDL and too high a level of LDL.

    So what were looking for are methods that will raise your HDL levels and / or lower your LDL levels.


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