9 Easy Ways to Raise HDL Cholesterol Naturally
We’ve all heard about “good” cholesterol (HDL) and “bad” cholesterol (LDL). The levels of these determine how much cholesterol is deposited in the arteries, and how much is transported to the liver to discard it.
HDL cholesterol is what helps your body take cholesterol from your arteries to the liver. High levels of HDL have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Its effects reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
It is recommended that blood levels of HDL should be maintained at 40 mg / dl in men and 50 mg / dl in women at minimum. And although HDL levels are determined largely by genetics, there are also factors that determine their level.
Table of Contents
- 1 How to Raise HDL Cholesterol
- 1.1 1. Add Olive Oil to Your Foods
- 1.2 2. Carry a Low Carbohydrate Diet or Ketogenic Diet
- 1.3 3. Perform regular physical activity
- 1.4 4. Add Coconut Oil to Your Foods
- 1.5 5. Stop Smoking
- 1.6 6. Lose or Stay in Your Normal Weight Ranges
- 1.7 7. Choose Vegetable Foods With Purple Natural Color
- 1.8 8. Consume Fatty Fish Regularly
- 1.9 9. Avoid Eating Trans Fats
- 2 Things to Remember
How to Raise HDL Cholesterol
1. Add Olive Oil to Your Foods
Olive oil is one of the healthiest natural fats you can include in your daily diet. It is high in monounsaturated fats. In addition, a longitudinal study of 800,000 participants was found to reduce the risk of heart disease. Apparently, olive oil increases HDL cholesterol because of the antioxidants it contains, called polyphenols. There are different types of olive oil and the extra virgin is the highest in polyphenols. Their concentrations vary between brands.
One study was done with 200 people who received 2 tablespoons of olive oil a day for three weeks. It was found that the participants increased their HDL levels according to the polyphenol concentrations in the oil.
Another study was conducted with 62 people, who received 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (high in polyphenols) once a day for 6 weeks. This time it was found that participants increased HDL cholesterol levels by approximately 6.5 mg / dl. But in addition to increasing HDL levels, olive oil also increases the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions of HDL cholesterol.
Whenever you are in your hands, choose high quality extra virgin olive oil.m Remember that this is the highest in polyphenols and will help you more to reduce the risk of heart disease.
2. Carry a Low Carbohydrate Diet or Ketogenic Diet
Normally, these types of diets are used to reduce weight, fat and blood sugar. But these also raise HDL cholesterol levels, especially in people who tend to have low levels. Obese people with insulin resistance or diabetic problems are the ones who benefit most from this.
Who Benefits More from This Type of Diet?
A comparative study with type 2 diabetics found that HDL levels increased to almost double with low-carbohydrate diets. Participants were divided into two groups. In one they had a diet of less than 50 grams of carbohydrates a day and in the other they were carrying a diet of carbohydrates.
Although both groups lost weight, HDL cholesterol results were contrasting. The group that consumed less than 50 grams of carbohydrate increased almost twice as much HDL cholesterol as the group on a high-carbohydrate diet.
Another study was done with obese people. In this, the participants were also divided into two groups. One had a low-carbohydrate diet and the other a low-fat but high-carbohydrate diet.
Those on a low-carbohydrate diet increased up to 5 mg / dl HD cholesterol. But those on a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet had a decrease in HDL cholesterol levels.
In addition, diets high in meat and cheese generally raise HDL cholesterol levels by 5 to 8% compared to high-carbohydrate diets. Importantly, low carbohydrate diets not only increase HDL, triglycerides and also lower other risk factors for heart disease.
Keeping you physically active is very important to your health and this is not unique to just one type of exercise. Performing strength training, high intensity intervals and aerobic exercises has been shown to increase HDL levels. But one study found that the largest increase in HDL was recorded with high intensity interval training.
This was done in women with insulin resistance and polycystic ovarian syndrome. They performed high intensity workouts at intervals 3 times a week.
After 10 weeks the results were as follows:
- HDL increased on average 8 mg / dl.
- Better arterial function.
- Decreased insulin resistance.
- Other health markers improved.
Another study was performed on overweight men who underwent high intensity workouts for 12 weeks.
The results were as follows:
- First group, performed high intensity workouts increased 10% HDL cholesterol.
- Second group, performed low intensity workouts increased 2% HDL cholesterol.
- Third group, performed resistance training had no change.
However, low intensity exercises seem to increase the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of HDL cholesterol, even if their levels do not vary.
Performing physical activity is very good for your health. When it comes to raising HDL cholesterol levels high intensity exercises are best, both at intervals and by circuitry.
4. Add Coconut Oil to Your Foods
Coconut oil can increase metabolism, protect brain health and, as well as other fats, reduce appetite. Because coconut oil is high in saturated fats, some people are concerned about the effects they may have on heart health. However coconut oil is actually healthy. In addition, it tends to increase HDL cholesterol.
In addition to increasing “good cholesterol”, coconut oil does not increase LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”). This is why coconut oil is considered a protector of heart health.
A study of 40 women with excess abdominal fat found contrasting results between the group that consumed soybean oil and the one that consumed coconut oil. In the group that consumed soybean oil, the proportion of good cholesterol decreased and the proportions of bad cholesterol increased.
Whereas in the group that consumed coconut oil the results were the opposite; The proportion of HDL increased and LDL decreased. Most studies, have found that about 3 tablespoons of coconut oil a day offer the best benefits for your body. Include it in different dishes and experiment with its flavor.
5. Stop Smoking
Smoking can increase the risk of many health problems, including lung cancer and heart disease. One of its negative effects is that it suppresses HDL cholesterol. Some studies have found that smoking cessation increases HDL levels. In fact, there are no significant differences in HDL levels between people who quit smoking and people who have never smoked.
In a one-year study of 1500 people, those who stopped smoking increased twice as much as those who smoked again within that year of study. It is important to remember that HDL cholesterol lowers the risk of heart disease.
Another study, conducted over a year, found that leaving the traditional cigarette and starting to use electronic cigarettes may on average increase HDL 5 mg / dl. But when it comes to nicotine patches, the results have not been conclusive. However, in all studies, when smoking was stopped, HDL function improved. The result was less inflammation and decreased risk of heart disease.
6. Lose or Stay in Your Normal Weight Ranges
When people with excess weight lose it, their HDL levels also decrease.
HDL decreases regardless of whether weight loss was:
- A low calorie diet.
- A low carbohydrate diet.
- Perform training cycles at high intensity intervals.
- Gastric bypass.
- Combination diet and exercise.
In a study in Japan with 3000 overweight adults, it was found that losing weight favors the increase of good cholesterol. Losing 3 kilograms of weight increased on average 4 mg / dl of HDL cholesterol.
In another study with obese and type 2 diabetics, who were on a high protein diet but with caloric restriction had similar results. The key to maintaining healthy levels of HDL cholesterol is to take a diet that is right for you, that you enjoy and that you actually carry it out.
Losing weight is what will increase your HDL levels. Keeping you in a healthy weight range will help keep your HDL levels in the right amounts for your body.
Purple vegetables contain antioxidants called anthocyanins. These antioxidants favor the increase of HDL cholesterol. In addition, anthocyanins have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and protective properties against cell damage from free radicals.
Although supplements were used instead of foods high in anthocyanins, there are many vegetables that contain them in large quantities such as:
- Purple corn
- Purple strawberries
These vegetables are very versatile. You can include them in both sweet and savory foods, main courses, soups, garnishes, desserts, waters and shakes.
8. Consume Fatty Fish Regularly
It is already well known that eating fatty fish is good for your health. These mainly benefit your heart, as they favor the reduction of cellular inflammation as well as better functioning of your arteries. Scientific research determined that eating fatty fish could also raise low levels of HDL cholesterol.
However, there are also two studies that found that consumption of oily fish or omega-3 supplements had no increase in HDL cholesterol levels.
Some examples of fatty fish are:
- Mackerel or mackerel
Processed foods are high in trans fats. This type of fat has negative effects for you, since it favors cellular inflammation.
There are two types of trans fats:
Natural trans fats are found in animal products, as in whole dairy products. Artificial trans fats are found in margarine and processed foods. They are created by adding hydrogen to vegetable and seed replenished fats.
These are also called industrialized fats or partially hydrogenated fats. In addition to promoting cell inflammation, they also contribute to the decrease in HDL cholesterol and health problems.
One study found that HDL cholesterol levels declined after consuming margarine with partially hydrogenated soybean oil. In fact, HDL cholesterol decreased by 10% compared to participants who consumed palm oil.
In another study it was found that HDL cholesterol levels decreased significantly with a diet high in artificial trans fatty acids. These results were not so when a diet high in natural trans fatty acids was taken.
To stay at healthy levels of HDL cholesterol it is best not to consume artificial trans fats, which are found in large quantities in processed foods.
Things to Remember
It is true that the amount of HDL is determined largely by genetics. But there are also many things that can change your levels for both good and bad. If you maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle, it is very likely that your HDL cholesterol levels will also stay in healthy ranges. Remember that the main thing is the quality of life and this will be influenced by the lifestyle you lead.