A wax-like substance that is found in the human body cells is known as cholesterol. It has varied uses in our body, like enabling the building of the body’s cells; it is present in our bloodstreams and fixed to proteins called Lipoproteins.
Our body consists of two types of Lipoproteins,
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), i.e., the bad cholesterol and
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL), i.e., the good cholesterol.
It is essential that these two types are present in the right quantities as any sort of imbalance will lead to health concerns. The idea is to raise HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol. Therefore, you need to constantly get your cholesterol levels checked by a medical practitioner who will guide you on any medications if required.
Your HDL or good cholesterol has an optimum level generally prescribed by doctors. In men and women, a level of 60mg/dL or above is desirable, anything below 50 mg/dL is considered to be a risk. It is widely acknowledged that people who have a naturally higher level of good cholesterol, i.e., HDL, are perceived to be at a lower risk of a heart attack or stroke. Herein, we list below some of the ways on how to raise HDL cholesterol.
Get going on that exercise routine that you have been dreaming of but skipping out on for so many days. It is widely seen that physical movements and exercise have proven to raise the HDL cholesterol in your body. Take it on slowly and build it into your daily routine. If you’re new, try to jog or walk for 15-30 minutes daily and then go to traditional gyms. Aerobics, core-strength training, and high-intensity workouts are very effective for raising HDL cholesterol. Exercise will enhance the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of HDL.
Shed those extra pounds
If you follow the above advice, i.e., exercise, then you’re bound to lose some of that extra weight that you have. When an obese person loses weight, it lowers his/her LDL or bad cholesterol level and raises or boosts his/her HDL cholesterol levels. In a study of about 3000 overweight people, it was found that with every 3 kg decrease in weight, the HDL level rose by around 4 mg/dl. The way to get and maintain a healthy HDL cholesterol level also includes the right choice of diet that will also help you avoid regaining those pounds you reduced.
Your diet also has a major impact on your HDL cholesterol levels. You need to ditch the saturated and trans fats and choose polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which are healthier and can be found in nuts, plants, and fish like tuna and salmon. Include olive oil in your diet and dish out all other types of oils. Extra-virgin olive oil raises the HDL levels in your body and decreases the inflammatory impact that is caused by the LDL cholesterol. Beans and legumes, whole grains like cereals, bran, and brown rice, high-fiber fruits like apples and pears, ground flaxseeds, flaxseed oil and Chia seeds containing omega-3 fatty acids, avocado, soy and soy-based products, and red wine (in Moderation) should be included in your diet.
If you have diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or obesity, then a keto diet is suggested. Keto is a form of low carbohydrate diet that may enhance the process of weight loss and reduces blood sugar levels in the body.
Apart from lung-related diseases, smoking is the cause of many heart-related diseases and a major cause of heart attacks. It also lowers the HDL levels in the body. Some studies have suggested that the HDL cholesterol level is inversely related to the potential risks of development of heart-related diseases. Nicotine-laced cigarettes alter the essential enzymes that support the transport of lipids. HDL gets oxidative alterations by cigarette smoking that makes HDL essentially dysfunctional and may lead to the clogging and hardening of arteries/blood vessels
Though it has not proven to be an extremely positive method for increasing your HDL levels, but in some cases, it may be necessary as the levels of HDL in the body may be lower than the threshold of 60mg/dl and in order to provide an immediate support to the body, the medical practitioner may prescribe Statins that may lower your LDL levels and mildly increase the HDL levels in your body. Nicotinic acid or Vitamin B3 therapy have worked well for patients and helped them in increasing the blood HDL levels by approx. 20 to 35 percent.
For athletes and gym freaks who consume anabolic drugs to boost their testosterone and stamina levels are strongly advised to get their HDL levels checked as the use of anabolic drugs is closely associated with the decrease in HDL levels in the body.