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How do you raise HDL levels?

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Quick Answer

Raising HDL levels requires an active lifestyle that incorporates a substantial amount of physical activity with healthy diet choices, notes Mayo Clinic. Raising HDL levels to a healthy number can be challenging but not impossible.

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Full Answer

Raising your HDL level requires a significant focus on a proactive lifestyle. For example, losing weight and becoming more physically active are two lifestyle changes that improve HDL levels. Excess weight is hard on a body, and this is reflected in cholesterol levels, especially HDL levels. Losing weight can help raise HDL levels by as much as 1 milligram per deciliter for every 6 pounds lost, according to Mayo Clinic. Losing weight by becoming more active can increase HDL. For example, HDL levels can be increased by approximately 5 percent with frequent aerobics activity for about 30 minutes five times a week.

Choosing healthier fats is one way to help increase HDL levels. A heart-healthy diet includes anywhere between 25 and 35 percent of daily calories, but that total should also includes less than 7 percent of saturated fats, notes Mayo Clinic. In addition to lowering saturated fats, look to avoid trans fats, which ultimately raise LDL levels and risk damage to blood vessels. A diet rich in whole grains, nuts, oatmeal and omega-3 fatty acids is one that improves HDL levels.

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