Although cholesterol has been treated as a cuss word due to its linkage with the life-threatening heart diseases, you will be pleasantly surprised to know that not all cholesterol is bad. There is the good cholesterol called HDL cholesterol which needs to be high so as to nullify the effects of the bad one (LDL cholesterol)! https://blog.ekincare.com/2016/08/09/decoding-lipids-the-good-bad-and-ugly/
While it’s easier to raise the bad cholesterol, bringing up the HDL numbers is a tough and enduring process. Plus, we Indians are blessed with a typical lipid profile showing low HDL and high triglycerides attributable partly to genetics. Here we list a few ways to boost the good ( HDL) cholesterol!
- Exercise daily– Exercise is a well validated method to increase HDL cholesterol One need not be an Olympic levels athlete, simply making exercise a habit helps in the long term. Consistently putting efforts at exercise and fitness helps in changing the numbers gradually but surely.
- Eat Fish – Fatty fish are rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids i.e. EPA and DHA. Research has shown that increasing intake of fatty fish to atleast 3-4 servings every week leads to larger HDL particles in blood. These larger HDL particles are believed to protect against cardiovascular diseases. Fatty fish include salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel
- Coconut oil – Coconut oil does increase good cholesterol levels which can be attributed to its higher lauric acid content ( a type of saturated fatty acid) . But experts advise that coconut oil should be used with caution and in moderation up until there is further evidence on its heart health benefits.
- Eat anthocyanins – Anthocyanins can have cardioprotective effect by increasing the cholesterol efflux capacity of HDL. Besides being a powerful antioxidant , anthocyanin is color pigment that gives many fruits and berries a blue, red or dark purple hue e.g. black rice, purple corn, aubergine, red cabbage, red onions and radishes, red beans and red fruits such as black currant, plums, cranberries, blueberries, grapes, etc
- Avoid refined carbohydrates – Refined sugars are present in white sugar products, honey, white breads and pasta, in addition to the sweetened beverages. The higher refined sugar eaters have lower levels of HDL-cholesterol than those consuming the least refined sugars.
- Stop smoking – This will definitely increase your HDL levels while greatly reducing your risk of other diseases.
HDL carries the excess cholesterol to the liver for excretion so it helps prevent accumulation of fats and the process of artery blockage. It is worthwhile to make efforts to increase and maintain HDL cholesterol levels within normal range. Normal levels of HDL cholesterol can independently reduce risk of heart attacks.