How To Increase Good Cholesterol – What did you think when you first listened to the “cholesterol” word? Most likely you directly associate it with heart disease, or stroke.
Actually, cholesterol is needed by the body to help build new cells so that the body can continue to function normally. In addition, cholesterol also helps the body produce vitamin D, a number of hormones, and bile acids to digest fats. However, if cholesterol is excessive this can turn to harm health.
Well, actually how to increase good cholesterol without adding bad cholesterol?
In the blood, cholesterol is carried by proteins. The combination of the two is called a lipoprotein. The two main types of lipoprotein are low density lipoprotein (LDL) commonly referred to as bad cholesterol and high density lipoprotein (HDL) commonly referred to as good cholesterol.
Minimum HDL levels in the body should be at 40mg/dl for men and 50mg/dl for women. HDL levels in the body are influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Here are some ways to increase good cholesterol in your body:
How To Increase Good Cholesterol
Eating healthy foods
Food is closely related to cholesterol levels. Food sources of saturated fats and trans fats can increase levels of LDL or bad cholesterol and total cholesterol.
Some appropriate and healthy foods can lower LDL levels, so it is expected to increase HDL levels at the appropriate comparison. Some foods that can be consumed (but not excessive), namely:
- Olive oil as a substitute for other oils when cooking
- Nuts, such as black beans, kidney beans, and lentils
- Whole grain cereals
- Fruits high in fiber, such as pears and apples
- Fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel
- Soy products
- Chia seeds
Consuming healthy oils
Olive oil is one of the healthiest oils because it contains mono-chain unsaturated fats that can lower the risk of heart disease. Olive oil can also increase levels of good cholesterol because it contains polyphenol antioxidants.
Even the purest olive oil (extra virgin) contains the most polyphenols. You can try consuming olive oil 2 tablespoons per day.
Meet fiber needs
Fiber does not only play a role in controlling bowel movement. According to a report published by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, once digested, soluble fiber helps block the absorption of bad cholesterol in the bloodstream. Therefore, it is important for each person to meet their daily fiber needs.
Some of the best sources of LDL cholesterol-lowering fiber and HDL cholesterol enhancers are legumes, lentils, apples, blueberries, flaxseeds, and oatmeal. However, adding too much fiber in a short period of time can cause stomach upset. Therefore, you need to increase your fiber intake slowly and drink plenty of water to help keep your gut healthy.
Low-carb or ketogenic diet
This type of low-carb or ketogenic diet in addition to reducing blood sugar levels and weight also increases cholesterol in both obese and diabetic people. What’s more, the diet also lowers triglyceride levels, thus lowering the risk of heart disease.
The next way to increase good cholesterol (HDL) is by exercising regularly. Being physically active is important for heart health. Research has shown that many types of exercise, such as strength training, high intensity exercise, and aerobic exercise, are very effective for increasing HDL cholesterol.
The review study also says that exercise can enhance the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of HDL cholesterol. The greatest HDL enhancement usually occurs with high intensity exercise.
One small study followed women with polycystic ovary syndrome, which can increase the risk of insulin resistance. The study required them to do high-intensity exercise three times a week.
The exercise showed an increase in HDL cholesterol after 10 weeks. The participants also showed improvements in other health markers, including decreased insulin resistance and improved arterial function.
You can also take medications to increase HDL levels in the body. Sometimes to increase HDL, the drugs used are LDL and triglyceride levels lowering drugs. For example, niacin prescription, statins, and others. Also, avoid taking drugs containing tes**tosterone and anabolic steroids as it can lower HDL levels.