What is the healthiest way to increase HDL Cholesterol?
- Exercise. Get approximately 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise.
- Quit smoking. “Breaking the tobacco habit can raise HDL levels by about four points,” Veerabhadrappa says.
- Lose weight. According to Veerabhadrappa, losing 10 pounds can increase HDL by 1.5 points. The goal is to achieve a body mass index of less than 25, steadily and over time, through healthy eating and regular exercise.
- Reduce sugar intake. The carbohydrates found in comfort foods like ice cream, cookies, and highly-refined dessert products are high-sugar foods that can lower HDL and raise your levels of triglycerides, another type of cholesterol in your blood.
- Choose healthier fats. Minimize the saturated and trans fats in your diet. “These substances increase the bad cholesterol while decreasing the good cholesterol,” explains Veerabhadrappa. “Instead, switch to products containing unsaturated fats, like olive, canola, and flaxseed oils.”
- Eat fatty fish. Eating salmon, mackerel, or any other fish from icy waters several times a week can have a very positive effect on HDL levels. These fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have a number of health benefits.
- Add fiber to your diet. The soluble fiber found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains may boost HDL levels.
- Consume alcohol in moderation. Studies have found mild to moderate alcohol consumption (one drink a day for women, two for men) can raise HDL cholesterol by up to four points. However, if you don’t currently drink, there’s no need to start.