What You Can Do to Raise Your "Good" HDL Cholesterol

By Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D., "Ask Our Nutritionist," November/December 2011

Easy health and nutrition ideas to make an impact on your cholesterol numbers.

"You do know that a diet high in saturated fat and low in carbohydrates is the proven way to raise HDL? And that a diet high in fructose and other sugars (carbohydrates) will lower HDL and raise triglycerides? "

A recent report in the British Medical Journal suggests drinking alcohol in moderation (up to one drink daily for women, up to two for men) may boost HDL. (Don’t take this as advice to start drinking if you don’t already.) Perhaps more important is eating a diet moderate in fat—25 to 35% of calories. Most of that should come from polyunsaturated fats (nuts, seeds and their oils and omega-3 fats in oily fish) and monounsaturated ones (olive oil, avocados).

Upping your intake of healthy fats and eating them in place of trans fats (in margarine and commercial baked goods), saturated fat (in fatty meats and full-fat dairy) and even refined carbohydrates can also lower your levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, the real villain when it comes to heart disease.

Bottom line: Focusing on an overall healthy lifestyle is the best way to keep your lipid levels as healthy as can be.

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