High Cholesterol

How can I raise my HDL cholesterol?

A Answers (4)

  • AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered

    For a change, we actually want to increase something in your body - your high density lipoprotein (HDL) levels. HDL is the "good" kind of cholesterol, the kind that's carried by high-density lipoproteins. You want as high an HDL level as possible - at least greater than 40. Increasing your HDL can be done a couple of ways:

    • Consuming healthy fats found in olive oil, fish, and walnuts (a tablespoon, 4 ounces, or 12 a day is the right amount)
    • Walking or any physical activity for 30 minutes a day
    • Having a drink of alcohol every night (seven on Saturday night doesn't count). But if you're at risk for alcoholism or see other signs that drinking alcohol could be unwise, skip this tip.
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  • HDL cholesterol can be increased by stopping smoking, increasing aerobic exercise, reducing alcohol intake, and making changes in your diet. The dietary changes should include: avoiding foods that contain saturated and trans fats, increasing your monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (olive, peanut and canola oils), and increasing omega-3 fatty acids (nuts and fish) and whole grains (oatmeal, wheat, bran). Medications that can raise the HDL are niacin (increases HDL the most but can have side effects), statins, and fibrates.
  • AOzgen Dogan, Cardiology, answered
    To raise your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) level, up your exercise, eat coldwater fish like salmon and halibut and, if you're a smoker, quit smoking. After these changes, if HDL doesn't increase, talk to your doctor about taking niacin, a type of vitamin B. This supplement is very inexpensive and can increase HDL up to 35%. At the same time it can decrease LDL by 20% and triglycerides by 50%. Side effects can be flushed skin and upset stomach. If you take niacin with aspirin, skin flushing decreases. Studies have shown that increasing good cholesterol (HDL) is just as important as decreasing bad cholesterol (LDL). It should be over 40 at least. The higher your HDL, the better.
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  • There are many ways to raise your HDL cholesterol without medication.  Some tips include:
    o Performing aerobic exercise
    o Losing weight
    o Quitting smoking
    o Decreasing fat intake (particularly saturated fat)
    o Increasing fiber intake
    o Eating foods rich in unsaturated fats (fish, nuts, avocado)
    o Taking an omega-3 and/or omega-6 supplement
    Helpful? 5 people found this helpful.
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How can I reduce my blood cholesterol levels?