Cholesterol is a fat protein that our bodies needs for normal cellular function. High-density lipoprotein Cholesterol or (HDL) Cholesterol is the ‘good’ cholesterol because it aids the body in preventing the accumulation of excess fat deposits from clogging up our arteries. HDL Cholesterol acts as a scavenger by removing the LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol from blood vessels.
7 Ways to Improve Your HDL Cholesterol
1 – Limit Fat Intake
A diet consisting of a lesser portion of fats, particularly trans fats and saturated fats, can work wonders for your HDL levels. The easiest way to do this is limit the use of animal meat in your diet.
2 – Consume Omega-3 Rich Plant Sources
Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which not only helps increase HDL level, but also helps lower LDL level. Omega-3 from plant sources can be found in brussels sprouts, flax seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, algal oil(comes from algae) and perilla oil(from perilla seeds).
3 – Eat Resveratrol-Rich Fruits
Your choice of food has a direct impact on your HDL levels and your health in general. Consuming foods rich in Resveratrol can help increase your HDL level. Resveratrol is abundantly found in fruits that have red and purple skins, such as apples, cherries, grapes, and berries.
4 – Exercise on a Regular Basis
Along with maintaining a healthy diet, the most effective way to elevate your HDL levels is to exercise regularly. The human body needs at least 30 minutes of exercise per day to stay in optimal functioning condition. Take part in activities such as swimming, walking, bicycling and jogging, this may make the exercise session seem less like a chore. Instead of focusing on the long workout sessions, it’s better to exercise in short intense sessions (HIIT).
5 – Lose Weight
Obesity is one of the leading cause of cardiac diseases and plays a significant role in making people prone to conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. Additionally, excess body weight can bring down your HDL level. Losing weight can help with this. For every 2 lbs of weight lost, your HDL level goes up by approximately 0.3 mg/dL.
6 – Stop Smoking
Quit smoking. There are many health benefits to ending this dangerous habit. One notable benefit is improving your cholesterol. smoking cigarettes lowers your HDL levels. According to research conducted by University of Florida in 2012, smoking can seriously lower your HDL levels. This is due to the chemical present in the smoke of cigarettes that inhibits HDL. To facilitate the process of quitting smoking, start off by reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke per day and then gradually increase it until you completely give up smoking.
7 – Drink, but Moderately
Contrary to popular belief, drinking in moderation can help you achieve a higher HDL level. A couple of servings a day of an alcoholic drink, especially red wine can have a positive effect on your HDL level. But, keep in mind that consuming more than this amount can negate the positive effects and end up causing other health issues, including heart failure.
Knowing your numbers is important. If your HDL cholesterol levels are above 60mg/dl is good, because it reduces the risk for heart disease. If your HDL cholesterol levels are below 40mg/dl this may increase your risk for heart disease. Some people are also genetically predisposed to having abnormal cholesterol levels, so it’s important to speak to your doctor about any questions or concerns you may have about your cholesterol levels and overall health.