There are several effective ways to increase HDL cholesterol (that’s “good” one by way), that can literally add years to your life, reduce risk of heart disease, atherosclerosis and stroke.
So, how do we go about getting high HDL cholesterol levels
There are two key ways for increasing your HDL, naturally when combined results are both faster and satisfying. One method is totally zero cost, second method can be expensive and also detrimental to your health in some isolated cases.
Lifestyle modifications This seems so hard for many people, yet results are zero cost, relatively easy and last as long as you continue a healthy life. In many people, following lifestyle recommendations will be sufficient to increase HDL cholesterol, and at same time help to reduce your “bad” LDL. You’ll also probably reduce your blood pressure and lose those unwanted, potentially dangerous pounds.
The lifestyle modifications that will provide best results follow below:
Exercise This is where many people stop reading and find excuses such as not having enough time. The solution cannot always be found in a bottle of pills and it may take a little effort on your side, but believe me it is well worth it!
If you are overweight, losing weight can raise HDL levels quite substantially. In fact, simply beginning an exercise program can help increase “good” HDL and this has been known for some time. In late 1990’s a Stanford University study found that when sedentary men start an exercise routine they improved their HDL by approximately 4.4 mg/dl when exercise burned off 800-1000 calories a week (if you cycle just 2 hours a week at 11 mph you will burn almost 1000 calories). It seems that duration of exercise, not intensity, provides greatest benefit. So, more exercise you do, higher goes your HDL. Is that so difficult?
Smoking Aside from HDL, giving up smoking is one of best things you can do. It has been shown that on average, men who smoke have HDL levels 5.3 mg/dl lower than non-smokers. The difference is even more in women: around 9 mg/dl lower than non-smokers. Remember a 4.4 mg/dl can mean a 3-5% reduction in risk of developing heart disease. Recent articles suggest that quitting all forms of tobacco can increase HDL cholesterol by 15 to 20 percent.
Diet A Mediterranean-style diet, rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil and legumes, is strongly linked to high blood levels of HDL. So is eating more fish (and taking fish oil supplements) and consuming fewer refined carbohydrates.
Several types of fats can also make a big difference. Most helpful are monounsaturated fats found in canola, olive, avocado, nut and seed oils; nuts and avocados. Increasing your daily intake soluble fiber is also beneficial. Soluble fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and oats and whole grain foods.