What is Good Cholesterol and How Do I Improve It?

by Laurel on March 5, 2010

Are you or any of your loved ones worried about your cholesterol levels? Are you taking cholesterol medication? It’s a hot topic in the U.S. because the incidence of heart disease is at an epidemic level. Cholesterol is not the sole reason people have heart disease, but it’s definitely a contributing factor. Experts agree that dietary cholesterol raises blood cholesterol and that high blood cholesterol levels increase your risk for heart disease. So, what can you do to help reduce your risk of high cholesterol and heart disease? For starters, you can increase your levels of “good” cholesterol. (I’ll discuss “bad” cholesterol and how to reduce your intake in a follow-up post next week).

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol works to “remove excessive cholesterol from your blood and tissues.” (Dr. Dean Ornish) You can increase your blood levels of HDL cholesterol by eating a healthy whole foods diet and getting regular exercise. In addition, everyone’s body is unique. You may have higher or lower blood levels of “good” or “bad” cholesterol because of your age, genetics, family history, lifestyle, etc. Just remember that you want a higher blood level of HDL “good” cholesterol and a lower level of LDL “bad” cholesterol.

If you’re looking to increase your levels of “good” cholesterol, there are two types of foods you can eat more of: monounsaturated fats and soluble fiber. Some wonderful sources are whole grains (such as brown rice, oats, and quinoa), blueberries, almonds, walnuts, avocado, olives and olive oil, flaxseed, apples, fish, broccoli, and 100% pomegranate, cranberry, or concord grape juices. You can also enjoy red wine, in moderation.

According to the experts I’ve listened to or read, most are recommending that your level of HDL “good” cholesterol should be over 60 mg/dl. Your total cholesterol levels should be under 200. But, make sure to consider your own risk factors (such as Diabetes) and discuss with your doctor to determine the best healthy levels for you. (Sources: Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Mehmet Oz). Ask your doctor to have your blood cholesterol checked every year.

Stay tuned for my next post, “What is Bad Cholesterol and How Do I Improve it?” See also: LOHF’s 14 Foods that Lower Cholesterol.

Update: This post was featured on FitBuff.Com’s Total Mind and Body Fitness Blog Carnival No. 144 and the Baby Boomers Blog Carnival, Edition 30.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt March 6, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Try the Mango Grilled Chicken Salad recipe http://www.fruitundressed.com/recipes/mango-salad.html from Del Monte!

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Anadrol November 3, 2010 at 9:02 am

Great article on cholesterol. Not all fats are bad for you, there’s something to remember. Keep up the good work.

http://www.nationwidesi.com/testosterone.cfm December 2, 2011 at 2:32 am

Value able post on the Cholesterol :: increasing of Cholesterol is harmful specially hearts patients. We should take care and don’t eat that foods which contains the high Cholesterol levels.

Thanks for sharing!!!!!

Marie September 27, 2012 at 9:34 pm

What do u do when u cannot afford to buy meds to control mine no longer have coverage and cannot buy Crestor. This worries me because of mine being high. Heart diease in family history, over weight and just cannot lose it and I’m a smoker. I’m under lotsof stress right now. Money is tight and don’t know what to do. There is no help out there for people like me. My husband just lost his job after 30 years and that took out our prescription being covered. Have u seen the price of Crestor. My husband takes Lipitor and cannot afford that either. I guess we just wait around go have a heart attack

Online Gym December 1, 2012 at 8:44 pm

You know i always have really great good cholesterol numbers . I believe it is because of my diet. I eat a lot of
Oatmeal
Fish ” Love Tuna”
Walnuts and almonds
Anyway great post. Thanks you the article.

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