Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"How can I raise my HDL levels?"
Hi. I'm 31 and my HDL levels are too low. How can I raise them? What foods should I eat?
As you have probably heard HDL (or the so called "good cholesterol") is the one type of cholesterol that you want as high as possible. A low HDL has been shown to be associated with artery blockages that cause heart disease while a high HDL has been shown to be protective against this heart disease. Raising HDL can be tough, but there are a few measures you can take. Try to cut out saturated fats and trans fats out of your diet. This requires you to take the time to look at the nutrition facts about foods and find ones without these fats. Unsaturated fats are better. If you are overweight, then weight loss can increase your HDL. If you smoke, then quitting can increase your HDL. Exercising several days a week will help as well. Finally, moderate alcohol consumption (1-2 drinks per day) can raise your HDL. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. The two of you can come up with a good plan for you to raise your HDL. After trying the lifestyle and diet modifications, you can have a re-check of your HDL. If it did not increase enough, then you can discuss medications that can also do the trick. Good luck.
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