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How to increase HDL cholestorol naturally

How to increase HDL cholestorol

Clear guide on how to increase HDL cholestorol without medication, using the rights foods and strategies.

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You can increase your HDL cholesterol without any medication with a few specific measures that can be easily integrated into everyday life. The only thing you really need is a little self-discipline.

How to increase HDL: What is the normal level of HDL?

To measure the HDL cholesterol, the doctor takes a blood sample. Since fat enters the blood through the ingestion of food, the blood sample should be taken on an empty stomach, at least for the first determination. Excessive consumption of high-fat foods or alcohol in the days before should also be avoided, as it can falsify the results. According to today’s experts, follow-up controls in particular should also take place without sobriety.

Age or genderNormal HDL cholesterol levels
Newborn22 – 89 mg / dl
baby13 – 53 mg / dl
Toddlers22 – 89 mg / dl
Women45 – 65 mg / dl
Men35 – 55 mg / dl

For the sake of simplicity one can remember: the blood concentration of HDL cholesterol in women should be at least 45 mg / dl, in men 40 mg / dl.

In addition to the HDL cholesterol, the doctor also determines the total cholesterol and the “bad” LDL cholesterol . It also calculates the LDL-HDL quotient (target: <3) and / or the total cholesterol-HDL quotient (target: <4.5). With these values, the doctor can better estimate the risk of arteriosclerosis.

What if your HDL cholesterol is too high?

Only in the rarest of cases is the HDL cholesterol too high. If so, that doesn’t necessarily have to be a good thing: There is controversial debate as to whether an excess of HDL cholesterol (as well as a deficiency) increases the risk of heart attack.

How to increase HDL cholesterol: why you should

The “high density lipoproteins”, or HDL for short, are often referred to as good cholesterol. Of course, the good always has an opponent and in this case it is called “Low Density Lipoproteins”, or LDL for short. The LDL cholesterol is accordingly known as the bad cholesterol.

HDL protects against arteriosclerosis

HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol plays a special role in prevention. HDL protects against arteriosclerosis by absorbing cholesterol from peripheral tissues and transporting it back to the liver for breakdown. In addition, HDL cholesterol protects especially LDL cholesterol from oxidative processes. In addition, it reduces the adhesion of leukocytes to the arterial wall in the plasma and thus also their migration into the subendothelial space.

The elderly and diabetics are particularly at risk

Too low HDL cholesterol levels increase the risk of coronary artery disease (CHD) and its complications significantly, regardless of the LDL cholesterol. The risk is particularly high in the presence of other risk factors, such as an existing coronary heart disease or diabetes mellitus. For example, diabetics with low HDL levels and elevated triglycerides have an extremely high risk of arteriosclerosis even if the LDL cholesterol is not elevated.

High risk for women

Girls have lower HDL cholesterol levels than boys before puberty. This relationship is reversed during puberty. Due to the influence of estrogens, less HDL-regulating enzyme is produced, but more due to the influence of testosterone. As a result, testosterone leads to an increased breakdown of HDL and falling levels. Adult women have an increased coronary risk with low HDL cholesterol levels and they benefit significantly from an increase in HDL. For them, the cardiovascular risk decreases by 3% each time the HDL cholesterol rises by 1 mg / dl. In men, the same effect only leads to a risk reduction of 2%.

  • If there is too much LDL cholesterol in your blood, it will build up long-term deposits on the vessel walls of the arteries. This in turn can lead to diseases such as hardening of the arteries, strokes or heart attacks.
  • The HDL cholesterol counteracts this by collecting the excess bad cholesterol and transporting it to the liver. There it is then processed further so that the LDL cholesterol can then be excreted from the body via the bile acids.
  • For this reason, it is worth taking targeted measures to increase the HDL cholesterol in your body. And the good news first: There are even some very effective measures that can take effect simply. 
  • Smoking, for example, has an unbeneficial effects on your cholesterol level. Quit smoking, save a lot of money and do something for your cholesterol level and your health.
  • You should also consume alcohol very consciously and in moderation, as excessive alcohol consumption ultimately also increases the LDL cholesterol. 
  • Body weight also has an effect on cholesterol levels. If you are overweight, you are at great risk of having too much bad cholesterol in your blood. With every pound you lose, you also increase HDL cholesterol.

Targeted increase in HDL cholesterol through diet

If you eat just a little more health consciously, the LDL cholesterol in your body will decrease and at the same time the HDL cholesterol will increase. If you manage to get your bad cholesterol below 160 mg / dl and your good cholesterol above 40 mg / dl, you are on the safe side.

  • Paying attention to what kind of fats you are adding to your body is a big step in the right direction. In particular, you should avoid animal fats in the form of fatty meat and sausage.
  • Oils like rapeseed oil, walnut oil or flaxseed oil have a good omega-3 to omega-6 ratio and ensure a balanced cholesterol level. You can also increase your HDL cholesterol with walnuts, flax seeds, sunflower seeds or chia seeds. However, it is important that you grind seeds like chia and flaxseed before adding them to, for example, your healthy granola. Otherwise the small seeds will be excreted more or less unprocessed from the body.
  • Muesli is a good keyword when it comes to increasing HDL cholesterol. You should avoid ready-made mueslis and instead make your own muesli. So you can start doing something for a balanced cholesterol level early in the morning. 
  • Instead of sugar, you can enrich your muesli with the above-mentioned crushed flax seeds and nuts such as hazelnuts, walnuts and peanuts. 
  • Fluids are also very important for a balanced cholesterol level. If the body lacks fluid, it automatically begins to produce more cholesterol in order to keep the cell walls elastic. So provide your body with enough water and healthy teas, such as ginger tea, evenly distributed throughout the day . Especially since sufficient fluid intake is important during sporting activities and these are, in addition to a healthy diet, the second mainstay for a balanced cholesterol level.

Eat more fiber

Fiber-rich pulses such as peas or beans are also very suitable for increasing HDL cholesterol.  

Oatmeal, or porridge, is also full of healthy fiber. Basically, it is better to use wholemeal flour or products made from wholemeal flour for the cholesterol level, as these contain considerably more nutrients and fiber than the so-called extract flour. 

Fruits and especially vegetables are also full of fiber and nutrients. As a rule, the fruits cannot directly raise HDL cholesterol. However, since the plants contain many antioxidant agents, you can lower LDL cholesterol with the help of fruits and vegetables. Avocado, for example, is particularly beneficial for the cholesterol level. The healthy fruit not only lowers bad cholesterol but also increases good cholesterol at the same time. 

  • Dietary fiber is primarily found in fruit, vegetables, nuts and whole grain products.
  • Apples , pears, broccoli and carrots , for example , provide a small amount of the healthy substances . These fruits and vegetables have 2 to 3 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
  • Berries and cabbage offer a little more: For example, blueberries have 4.9 grams, raspberries 4.7 grams and Brussels sprouts 4.4 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
  • The amount of fiber in your diet will be even higher if you eat whole grain products. Whole grain bread has around 7 to 8 grams and whole wheat pasta even around 11.5 grams per 100 grams of the food.
  • However, lentils and peas are unbeatable: For every 100 grams of dried lentils you take in about 17 grams of fiber, peas provide you only slightly less.

Exercise – increasing good cholesterol with exercise

The most effective way to increase your HDL cholesterol is through exercise. And the best thing about it: You don’t have to become a high-performance athlete to specifically influence your cholesterol level positively.

  • In order to increase good cholesterol, the most important thing is that you exercise consistently. It is completely sufficient if you work up a sweat, for example on a somewhat faster walk.
  • Good sports to increase the HDL cholesterol level as if by the way include swimming, hiking, dancing, cycling and Nordic walking.
  • It is important that you exercise constantly. Working out a full week and then doing nothing more does not help at all. It is better to do moderate sport and do it constantly. Try to exercise for at least thirty minutes at a time every day.
  • In addition, even small operations add up over time. Whenever possible, use the stairs, walk through the room while talking on the phone and leave the car for short distances.