Q:

How do you raise HDL cholesterol?

A:

Quick Answer

Incorporating healthy diet and lifestyle habits can help raise HDL cholesterol levels. Maintaining an ideal weight and avoiding smoking also contribute to higher HDL levels.

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Full Answer

  1. Choose healthy fats

    Saturated, unsaturated and trans fats effect the body differently. The best fats to include in an HDL-raising diet are unsaturated because they help the body increase HDL levels in the blood. Unsaturated fats are found in salmon, nuts, Omega-3 fish oil, peanuts, walnuts, almonds, pecans, olive oil and avocados. Aim for an intake of 25 to 35 percent of daily calories from fats, with less than 7 percent coming from saturated fats.

  2. Exercise

    Exercise helps increase the body’s levels of HDL as well as lower LDL levels. When sedentary adults participated in regular aerobic routines, their HDL levels increased by about 5 percent, reports the Mayo Clinic. Aerobic exercise raises the heart rate and includes activities such as brisk walking, jogging and cycling. Thirty minutes of exercise a day five times a week is an ideal way to work on lowering HDL levels.

  3. Maintain a healthy weight

    Extra weight has a negative effect on HDL levels. Losing as little as 6 pounds can increase HDL levels by 1 mg and also lower LDL levels.

  4. Quit smoking

    Along with other heart-healthy benefits, stopping smoking can raise HDL levels as much as 10 percent, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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