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Raising your Level of HDL

(High Density Lipoprotein – healthy cholesterol)

HDL cholesterol is made by our body and is in a large part determined by our genes. By making changes on how active we are and what we eat can help increase HDL cholesterol.

What should we aim for?
HDL of 60mg/dL and above is considered protective against heart disease.

Physical Activity:
Every bit counts: taking the stairs, walking, biking, and weight training.  You do not have to be an Olympic athlete, but you need to be active most days of the week.
Quit Smoking: Will increase HDL, decrease heart disease risk and some cancers.
Weight Loss: If overweight, weight loss of 5% -10% helps increase HDL cholesterol

Omega 3 fats:

Fish:   Eating 2-3 fish meals per week has shown to increase HDL cholesterol. This is linked to the Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Fatty fish are best

  • Herring
  • Sardines
  • Tuna(light)
  • Sea Bass
  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Trout

Other Sources

  • Ground Flax Seed Meal
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Cereals, eggs adn margarine
    added with omega 3 fats
  • Walnuts

Fish Oil supplements: look at the label and add up the EPA and DHA. Take enough capsules to equal 1,000mg (add EPA + DHA) daily. Check with your cardiologist or PCP before starting this supplement.

Eat Less Sugar and Refined (white) Carbohydrates (lowers HDL Cholesterol)

  • Sugar in any from
    (white, brown, honey,
    corn syrup)
  • Foods made with white (enriched)  flour:
    saltines, crackers,
    bread, pasta, pretzels,
    cake, cookies, etc.
  • Candy
  • Regular soda
  • Potatoes
  • Fruit juices
  • Rice

Eat Fiber rich Foods instead: Whole or cut fruit, vegetables, salads, legumes, whole grains

Avoid Trans-fatty Acids: Avoid foods that have partially hydrogenated oils. Read the ingredients list to find them. These oils raise LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol.

Alcohol:  Particularly wine has been shown to increase HDL. Drink in moderation (up to one for women and two for men in a day). Do not drink if you have diabetes, high triglycerides or fatty liver, to increase HDL cholesterol.