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HDL Cholesterol

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is also known as "good" cholesterol. They scour the walls of blood vessels and cleans out excess cholesterol by carrying them back to the liver for processing, which otherwise would have been made into plaques causing coronary artery disease. A person's HDL cholesterol level measures in short how vigorously the blood vessels are being set free of cholesterol. The levels of HDL in the blood should be:

  • HDL 60 mg/dL or higher is good as it decreases the risk of heart disease.
  • HDL between 40 and 59 mg/dL is considered to be acceptable.
  • Less than 40 mg/dL HDL is low which indicates higher chances of getting heart disease
The best ways to increase your HDL levels are:
  • Lose Weight: Being overweight lessens the HDL levels so it is advised to lose weight if you are overweight. People can lose weight by adopting a healthy lifestyle of diet and exercise.
  • Adopt heart- healthy food: Few dietary changes can reduce cholesterol levels and improve the health of your heart.
    • Choose healthier fats like the ones found in olive, canola or peanut oil. Also opt for leaner cuts of meat and low-fat dairy products.
    • Avoid Trans fats in your diet.
    • Include whole grains in your diet.
    • Adding fruits, vegetables that are rich in dietary fiber, which will help to lower cholesterol.
    • Add food that is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like fish, walnuts, almonds and ground flaxseeds into your diet. You can also take fish oil capsules instead of adding the earlier mentioned food.
  • Exercise: Moderate physical activity or any kind of exercise helps raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol also known as the "good" cholesterol.
  • Quit smoking: When you quit smoking you improve your HDL cholesterol level and it also helps lower your blood pressure.
  • Alcohol in moderation: In moderation alcohol increases good cholesterol making it beneficial to the heart and keeps it healthy. However, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to high blood pressure and heart failure.

Drug like niacin helps in raising HDL levels in the blood.