Secrets to increase HDL cholesterol (without drugs) are much sought after. Cholesterols are not soluble in blood. They are carried in the blood via attachments to lipoproteins. Lipoprotiens are a combination of fat and protien entities which enable fats / lipids to be transported across a water based blood stream.High density Lipoprotien (HDL) carries about a quarter of the total amount of cholesterol in the blood, and most of the remainder is carried by Low Density Lipoprotein. HDL is the smallest and densest of all the lipoproteins, and contains the highest proportion of protein to cholesterol.
Benefits of Increased HDL Cholesterol.
- High HDL levels remove excess cholesterol from the tissues and arteries, and returns it back to the liver for recycling and removal from the body. This is known as reverse cholesterol transport. This is a very important cardio protective role.
- High HDL levels also helps protects the artery walls against LDL cholesterol (an anti-inflammatory effect).
- High HDL levels have a positive anti-oxidant effect, which helps protect blood cells and important chemical messengers in the blood from being broken down.
- High HDL levels play an important role in steroid hormone synthesis.
What are good HDL levels.
According to the American Heart Association an ideal HDL level is 60 milligrams/deciliter (mg/dL) or above. Your HDL is considered low if it’s below 40 mg/dL. You should aim to have an HDL level between 40 and 60 mg/dL, but more than 60 mg/dL is ideal.
Foods to increase HDL Cholesterol Levels.
- Use olive oil or soya oil (high in unsaturated fatty acids), for cooking.
- Adopt a low carbohydrate(ketogenic) diet
- Add some coconut oil. It raises HDL but LDL also.
- Include omega 3 fatty acids in your diet
Vegetarian source – Flax seed
Non vegetarian source – Fatty fish
Mediteranean diet is a good method to improve HDL levels. It consists of lots of fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts, healthy grains, fish, olive oil, small amounts of meat and dairy, and red wine
Consume anti oxidant rich foods to increase HDL cholesterol levels.
- Nuts (particularly walnuts), Avocado
- Beans and legumes, Soya
Choose better Fats to increase HDL Cholesterol levels.
- Choose better fats – prefer monounsaturated fats over polyunsaturated, and saturated fat, and completely avoid trans fats (hydrogenated oils).
- Avoid trans fats completely (fried foods contain trans fats), foods with hydrogenated oils. if you are frying at home its best never to re-use any oil and never heat it to the point when it starts to smoke
- Avoid refined carbohydrates such as white flour products
Exercise to increase HDL Cholesterol Levels.
30 min of moderate exercise or 15 minutes of vigorous exercise 5 days a week is all it takes to increase HDL cholesterol to enjoy all its cardio protective benefits.
Quit smoking to increase HDL Cholesterol.
Smoking reduces the activity of the enzyme Lecithin cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT for short). This enxyme catalyses esterification of free cholesterol and thus promotes its metabolism and excretion. LCAT levels rise within 3 months of quitting smoking and could lead to an approximately 20% increase in HDL cholesterol levels.
Lose weight to increase HDL Cholesterol.
Every 7 pound loss increases HDL cholesterol by 1mg/dl
Moderate alcohol consumption to increase HDL Cholesterol.
Two drinks a day (<65 men) especially red wine, or 1 drink a day (women and men >65) have been shown to increase HDL cholesterol levels in multiple studies.
Avoid fitness supplements to increase HDL Cholesterol.
Avoid anabolic steroids and testosterone like drugs.
In conclusion, methods to increase HDL Cholesterol levels ……..
Methods to increase HDL cholesterol levels are numerous and beneficial in many ways. There are many non pharmacological (without drugs) ways to increase HDL cholesterol which have been enumerated above. High HDL levels are particularly relevant after Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery. Your surgeon can tell you more about this. Your doctor at the clinic will also give give a diet and exercise sheet to help you achieve this goal. HDL levels can be increased by drugs as well. The well known drugs for increasing HDL cholesterol include statins, nicotinic acid(niacin), and fibrates. These are not the topic of discussion here!