There are two types of cholesterol in the body and HDL or high-density lipoprotein is the good cholesterol. This cholesterol is good for the general health and a person who has high levels of HDL is more likely to avoid suffering from various diseases like heart disease for instance. HDL moves through the body through the bloodstream and during these flows it picks up the bad cholesterol or LDL. When it picks low-density lipoprotein it delivers it to the liver which is then passed on. People need to realize that it is essential to have high levels of HDL and low levels of LDL cholesterol. Apart from aiding the health of the heart, high-density lipoprotein also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and it assists in blood clotting.
Ideal HDL levels
Experts say that men should ideally have at least 60 mg/dl but if the HDL levels are 40 mg/dl or lower then it is very bad and considered to be risky. Women should also have 60 mg/dl or higher but for them it is already risky if the levels are 50 mg/dl or lower.
Every person should test his or her cholesterol levels in order to see how he or she stands and whether he or she needs to raise the HDL cholesterol levels.
Ways to raise HDL cholesterol
Every doctor will say that it is far better to raise the HDL cholesterol levels naturally then by using certain medications. However, not all people are in a situation to do that naturally and are in need of these medications. There are several tips a person can follow in order to raise the HDL cholesterol levels naturally.
The first step a person should take is make some changes in his or her diet and introduce more foods that have monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. In order to do this a person should use olive oil and canola oil instead of vegetable oil because vegetable oils have lots of trans-fatty acids which increase the LDL cholesterol levels.
A person should also increase the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids because they also contribute quite a lot to the raising of HDL cholesterol levels. These nutrients can be found mostly in fish, safflower oil, flaxseed oil and sunflower oil.
Niacin rich foods should also be consumed more. Soy is also good for the raising of HDL cholesterol levels.
While consuming more of these foods a person should avoid eating fried foods, cheese and foods that have lots of sugar.
Apart from eating the right foods a person should also lose weight if he or she is overweight. Quitting smoking is also advisable. Doctors also say that one glass of alcoholic beverage per day will increase the HDL but a person should not take more than one because that leads to various other problems.