Keeping Your Heart Healthy: How Do You Increase HDL?

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HDL, also known as good cholesterol, is located at the walls of our blood vessels used to get rid of the excess cholesterol. HDL then carries with it the excess cholesterol back to the liver for cleaning and processing. If not for HDL, the excess fat stays in the arteries, thus creates plaques that can eventually lead to various cardiovascular diseases. Think of your HDL as your blood vessel’s personal sanitation worker. So, how do you measure their HDL cholesterol levels? Or better yet, how to increase HDL cholesterol level?

HDL cholesterol levels below 40/mg/dL have a high risk for cardiovascular diseases. HD levels between 40 to 60 mg/dL are considered average, while HDL levels more than 60 mg/dL are considered to protect people against heart diseases – thus, the higher the HDL, the better. But the question ‘how do you increase HDL cholesterol levels is a rather complex question to answer. Luckily, many scientists and medical professionals have done studies on how to increase HDL.
There are a number of ways to increase HDL. Use all these techniques to ensure a high HDL and combat nasty heart diseases:

  • Aerobic exercise – many people won’t like it, but yes, regular exercise such as jogging, biking and walking can increase your HDL levels. Spend around 20-30 minutes exercise everyday. Intensity doesn’t affect increased HDL levels, but the duration does.
  • Stop smoking – Smokers should give up tobacco totally to increase HDL levels.
  • Lose weight! – Obesity increases LDL cholesterol levels and reduces HDL cholesterol levels.
  • Maintain a healthy diet – add monounsaturated fat, healthy oils, fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet. Include other dietary essentials such as cranberry or grape juice, fish, and foods high in omega three to increase HDL.
  • Drink red wine – Yes, you’ve read it right. You may ask how can you increase the levels of HDL by drinking alcohol?’ Studies have found that the right intake of red wine can increase HDL levels. However, limit your intake with one or two drinks a day. More than that and it’ll lead to substantial health problems such as heart attack and heart failure.

Drug therapy for increasing HDL levels has been successful so far, but less effective when it comes to decreasing LDL cholesterol levels. Of all drugs used for treatment, niacin is the most effective drug at increasing levels. How do you increase HDL levels? The best way is always the natural way. So diet, exercise and quit smoking now.