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Q.

How to raise HDL

My HDL level is low (20). I do not smoke, never have, and exercise on a regular basis. What can I do to raise my HDL levels?

 

Related Topics: Exercise, Smoking
 

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

Nutrition
294 Answers
5,227 Helpful Votes
60 Followers
A.

Although HDL levels are genetically linked, and tend to be lower in males, there are some things you can do to help increase your levels.  Here are some ideas:

  • Exercise on a regular basis -- 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise on most days
  • Replace saturated fats (animal fats/baked goods/fried foods etc) with plant sources of fat including vegetable oils (olive oil and canola), avocado, nuts and seeds and nut butters.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation (if you don't drink now, there is no need to start).
  • Eat a diet that is low in refined carbohydrates (white bread, sugar, candy etc.) but high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats.
  • Include soy in your diet.

For more details on increasing HDL cholesterol, see this WebMD article.  Good luck!

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A.
I had the identical problem many years ago.  I found that I either had to take statin drugs or supplements to make sure my LDL was low and HDL was higher(I also had an HDL count of about 20).  I totally changed my diet after having my internal doctor test my blood every 90 days for a year.  I had to stop eating all saturated foods (red meat, whole milk, eggs, chicken/turkey skin, etc) and also any foods that have a lot of cholesterol(shrimp, eggs, etc), but my cholesterol did not change much.  It was that way in spite of exercising like crazy(90 minutes of moderate aerobics twice a week, walking long distance fast once a week, and strengthening my muscles once/twice a week. My HDL was still between 20-25, the LDL was about 130, and my triglycerides were over 100. I researched supplements and found that the following would probably help me and they worked perfectly: policosanol, red yeast rice, SloNiacin, and fish oil. My HDL is now and has been for several years 40-47.  My LDL and triglycerides are below 100 and are around 80-90.  My internal doctor always says to just continue what I am doing and that I do not need statin drugs.

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Myself and many friends we found eating onions --about 150 gram per day during the lunch -- is very effective for increase the HDL

In one case --without change any other factor as exercise ,drugs etc-- after

systemetically eating onions for 4 months , HDL  increased from 43 to 69

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