In this article, you will find the best ways to increase HDL Cholesterol levels naturally without using medicines.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is also called as the “good” cholesterol because it helps eliminate bad forms of cholesterol from your bloodstream. This explains why high levels of HDL cholesterol is linked to lower cardiovascular risks.
Higher levels of HDL also provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, and are also associated with reduced risk of heart disease.
In case of HDL cholesterol, higher numbers are better. Most health experts advise the following optimal levels of HDL cholesterol:
HDL Recommended Range
Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood or millimoles (mmol) per liter (L):
|Men||Less than 40 mg/dL (1.0 mmol/L)||60 mg/dL (1.6 mmol/L) or above|
|Women||Less than 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L)||60 mg/dL (1.6 mmol/L) or above|
Though genetics do play a role, but there are many other factors that can affect HDL levels.
Healthy Natural Ways To Boost HDL Cholesterol Level
Use Olive Oil
(i) Olive Oil is one of the best healthy fats.
(ii) It was found in an extensive analysis of 42 large studies, in which more than 800,000 persons participated, that olive oil was the only source of monounsaturated fat that seemed to lower heart disease risk.
(iii) Studies have also found that one of olive oil’s heart-health benefits is that it helps raise HDL cholesterol. This may happens because of the presence of antioxidants in the form of polyphenols.
Note: Extra virgin olive oil contains more polyphenols than processed olive oils. Also the amount still varies among different brands & types.
In one study 200 healthy young males consumed about two tablespoons (25 milliliters [ml]) of different olive oils a day for three weeks. It was shown that participants’ HDL levels boosted noticeably more after they consumed the olive oil having the highest polyphenol content.
In another study 62 older adults were given about four tablespoons (50 ml) of high polyphenol extra virgin olive oil daily for six weeks. It was noticed that their HDL cholesterol level was increased.
In other studies involving older people and individuals with high cholesterol, olive oil also was also shown to be useful in boosting HDL’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
Whenever possible, choose certified high quality extra virgin olive oils, which are highest in polyphenols.
Low Carb and Ketogenic Diets
Low carb and ketogenic diets typically help boost HDL cholesterol levels in individuals with diabetes and obesity.
Low carb diets provide numerous health benefits such as weight loss and reduced blood sugar levels.
Studies have also shown that Low Carb diet can boost HDL cholesterol in people who otherwise tend to have lower levels. These include people who are obese, insulin resistant and diabetics.
In one study, researchers divided people with type 2 diabetes into 2 groups. One group was given a diet with fewer than fifty grams of carbs a day. A high carb diet was given to the other group.
Though both groups lost weight, but the low carb group’s HDL cholesterol level increased almost two times as much as the high carb group’s did .
In another study, people having obesity who ate a low carb diet experienced a boost in HDL cholesterol of almost 5 mg/dl overall.
On the other hand, in the same study, the participants who were given a low fat, high carb diet showed a decrease in HDL cholesterol.
Further more, these studies showed that in addition to increasing HDL cholesterol, very-low-carb diets might reduce triglycerides and improve many other risk factors for heart disease.
Important Tip: Avoid highly refined carbohydrates, such as white-flour products.
Smoking increases the risk of heart disease and causes many other health problems.
If you smoke, find a way to quit.
Smoking suppresses HDL cholesterol, especially in women, and increases triglycerides and LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. Some studies have shown that quitting smoking can help enhance HDL levels.
Experts claim that quitting smoking can help raise HDL levels by as much as 15% to 20% after you quit.
In a one-year study of more than 1,500 participants, those who quit smoking experienced twice the increase in HDL than those who resumed smoking within the year. The amount of large HDL particles also increased, which further cut down the risk heart disease.
In some studies where HDL cholesterol levels did not increase after the participants had quitted smoking, it was observed the HDL function improved resulting in less inflammation and other favorable effects on heart health.
Lose Weight! – If You Need To?
If you are overweight or obese, you not only can increase your HDL level by losing weight – but also reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol levels.
You can attain and maintain healthy HDL cholesterol levels by:
- Eating a type of diet (such as low-calorie diet, carb restriction, intermittent fasting, etc.) that help you lose weight and keep it off, and/or
- By exercising and/or incorporating more physical activities into your every day routine, like using the stairs instead of taking the elevator or parking your car farther from office.
- Walk around during breaks at work.
Increase your physical activities, and exercise on most days of the week in order to help raise your HDL.
With your doctor’s consent, work up to at least thirty minutes of exercise 5 times a week or do vigorous aerobic activity for twenty minutes 3 times a week.
Here are some ways to increase your physical activities:
- Taking a brisk walk every day during lunch hour.
- Riding bike to work.
- Playing your favorite sport
In order to stay motivated, consider finding an exercise buddy or joining an exercise group.
Avoid Trans Fats
Trans fats lower HDL (good cholesterol) levels and increase LDL (bad cholesterol). So, try to avoid artificial trans fats altogether.
Opt For Healthier Fats
The healthier options are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These are contained in plants, nuts, and fish like salmon, tuna, herring or mackerel.
About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, USA obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me age is just a number!”