How to Increase ‘Good’ HDL Cholesterol

Cholesterol is an important part of the body, but it can cause heart disease at high levels. Good cholesterol (HDL) helps balance out the LDL and stick around for more extended periods. A few foods can increase your “good” HDL cholesterol. These include nuts, fish, and eggs. nThis article will discuss how you can increase your HDL cholesterol through diet changes, sun exposure, and exercise.

It’s a frequent misunderstanding that cholesterol is always harmful, and high levels are always a reason for worry. What if I told you there’s a sort of cholesterol that’s not only beneficial at greater levels but also lowers your chance of serious health problems like heart disease? I’m happy to report that this form of cholesterol does exist. It’s known as HDL cholesterol, and it’s what we refer to as “good” cholesterol.

So, if cholesterol is genuinely beneficial to our health, how can we raise its levels naturally? The quick answer is that it depends on your way of living. The single most important factor affecting your HDL cholesterol level is your lifestyle. Changing every day and entirely controllable behaviors like food and exercise may result in higher HDL cholesterol levels, which can reduce your chance of life-threatening health problems.

Let’s start lowering those HDL cholesterol levels since progress can be made now!

What Is HDL Cholesterol?

Overall cholesterol, which includes HDL, LDL, and triglycerides, measures your blood’s total quantity of cholesterol. On the other hand, total cholesterol is mainly made up of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. High levels of LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, may cause plaque accumulation in the arteries, raising the risk of heart disease and stroke. LDL also increases your chance of peripheral arterial disease, which occurs when plaque builds up in an artery carrying blood to the legs and narrows it. The good news is that the greater your HDL level, the lower your LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, will be in your body.

What exactly is HDL? High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or HDL, is usually referred to as “good” cholesterol. High-density lipoproteins are cholesterol scavengers, capturing excess cholesterol in the circulation and transporting it to the liver, where it is appropriately broken down.

HDL is significantly more complicated than we previously believed. Rather than being a single kind of particle, HDL is now classified as a group of particles. HDL comprises lipids (fats), cholesterol, and proteins (called apolipoproteins), although some are spherical and others are doughnut-shaped. Some HDL kinds remove harmful cholesterol from the bloodstream, while others are cholesterol-agnostic. Worse, some HDL transfers cholesterol in the incorrect direction (into LDL and cells) or shields LDL in a manner that makes it more detrimental to arteries.

The unpredictability of HDL’s activities is one of the reasons why decreasing LDL cholesterol is often emphasized as the first line of defense against heart disease and stroke. However, both conventional and alternative medicine agree that boosting low HDL cholesterol is a sensible health decision since low HDL cholesterol is more harmful than high LDL cholesterol.

The Mayo Clinic recommends that men and women have HDL levels of 60 milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood. If a man’s HDL level is less than 40 milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood and a woman’s HDL level is less than 50 milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood, illness risk, particularly heart disease, is increased. Even if your HDL level is above the at-risk threshold (but below the desired level), you should strive to raise it to lower your heart disease risk.

As you may know, HDL is the “good guy” in the cholesterol game, and it may assist your liver in eliminating harmful cholesterol from your body. Because cholesterol cannot simply dissolve into the circulation, HDL plays a critical role in this process. Among its many functions, the liver is responsible for cholesterol metabolism. So HDL is the liver’s assistant, and it’s a good one. High HDL levels lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, which is why you should keep your cholesterol under control.

How to Boost HDL Cholesterol Naturally

Your genes do influence the amount of HDL your body produces and the percentage of distinct subtypes. Your genes are definitely predetermined and beyond your control, but you do have power over your lifestyle choices. Here are some of the greatest and very simple methods to increase your HDL cholesterol levels:

1. Quit Smoking

As is typically the case, smoking exacerbates health concerns, including low HDL levels. In addition, cigarette smoking has been shown to have a negative effect on HDL by reducing its level, which raises your risk of coronary heart disease. As a result, if you smoke, you’re already putting yourself at risk for heart disease.

2. Increase your physical activity

It would help if you exercised regularly to keep your body healthy. Your HDL levels are another compelling reason to begin exercising or increase your exercise frequency. Increased physical activity immediately aids in increasing HDL cholesterol, which is only one of the numerous advantages of exercise. Although vigorous activity is the greatest way to increase HDL, any more exercise is preferable to none.

3. Reduce your body weight

Even dropping a few pounds may help you raise your HDL cholesterol if you’re overweight. Your HDL might rise by one milligram per deciliter for every six pounds you lose. That implies you want to reduce weight, and having your HDL cholesterol levels in line is another reason to treat obesity if you’re really overweight.

4. Consume more healthy fats

Trans fats, which are typically found in hard margarine, baked products, and fried fast meals, should be avoided if you wish to raise your HDL level and total cholesterol. On the other hand, you should eat more healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, almonds, and salmon.

Why? Healthy fats assist in regulating LDL cholesterol levels by reducing them while boosting HDL cholesterol, resulting in a healthy heart. In addition, the high-fat keto diet has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease indicators such as elevated cholesterol and triglycerides.

5. Limit Refined Carbohydrates

Because a diet heavy in refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and sugar, has a detrimental impact on HDL, lowering your consumption of these carbs may help you boost your HDL. Instead, choose high-quality, healthier carbohydrates such as sprouted bread and fruit.

6. Maintain a Moderate Alcohol Consumption

Overindulging in alcoholic beverages has never benefited anyone’s overall well-being, much alone that person’s health. Always drink in moderation if you consume alcohol.

Moderate alcohol use has been associated with increased HDL cholesterol levels. For healthy individuals, moderate consumption is defined as one alcoholic drink per day for women of all ages and men over 65, and up to two drinks per day for those aged 65 and younger. Organic red wine is an excellent option, but don’t start drinking only to raise your HDL levels; overdoing it may harm your cholesterol levels and general health.

7. Increase your intake of niacin

Niacin is a B vitamin that helps the body convert food to energy. It also aids in the health of your digestive system, neurological system, skin, hair, and eyes. Although most individuals acquire enough niacin or B3 from their meals, prescription-strength niacin is often used to address low HDL levels. Supplementing with niacin may increase HDL cholesterol by more than 30%.

Although niacin may be used in lower quantities than prescribed, supplementing might induce undesired niacin side effects, particularly when taken in large concentrations. Flushing, an unpleasant sense of heat, itching, or tingling in the skin are some of the side effects of taking niacin. Gastrointestinal, muscular, and liver disorders are some of the other possible adverse effects.

When it comes to niacin, it’s best to strive to increase your daily intake. Turkey, chicken breast, peanuts, mushrooms, liver, tuna, green peas, grass-fed beef, sunflower seeds, and avocado are among the top niacin-rich foods. So eat more of these delectable, high-niacin foods for a natural HDL increase.

8. Think about your prescriptions

Is it possible that one of your present medications is to blame for your low HDL levels? Possibly! Anabolic steroids, beta-blockers, benzodiazepines, and progestins are among drugs that may lower HDL levels. If you take any of these drugs, I recommend speaking with your doctor about if there is anything you can do to replace your current prescription.

As you now know about HDL, you may often have a significant-good influence on your health without taking a risky drug that may treat one condition but aggravate another.

HDL vs. LDL

HDL cholesterol is the “good” kind, while LDL cholesterol is the “bad” form. Here’s how they compare:

HDL

  • HDL (high-density lipoprotein)
  • Cholesterol that is “good.”
  • When you eat a nutritious diet, your levels rise.
  • Reduces LDL cholesterol levels and removes cholesterol from arteries
  • Higher levels indicate a lower risk of severe heart disease and stroke.

LDL

  • Liproprotein of low density
  • Cholesterol that is “bad.”
  • When you eat a bad diet, your levels rise.
  • LDL cholesterol levels rise as a result of smoking.
  • is the primary cause of cholesterol accumulation and artery blockage
  • Increased levels indicate a higher risk of severe heart disease and stroke.
  • Obesity is linked to a higher LDL and lower HDL cholesterol level.

Last Thoughts

If you don’t know your HDL level, blood tests with a lipid profile may help you figure it out. This profile reveals your total cholesterol level and its constituent portions, such as HDL and LDL. Because high LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol have no evident indications or symptoms, it’s important to live a healthy lifestyle and get your cholesterol examined frequently!

Not smoking, exercising more, losing weight, eating healthy fats, limiting refined carb intake, moderate alcohol use, increasing niacin intake, and monitoring prescription medicine usage are just a few of the greatest strategies to improve HDL cholesterol while concurrently lowering LDL cholesterol. Do these activities, and your HDL will rise, lowering your risk of heart disease and stroke.

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