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Dec 14, 2011

6 Ways to Increase your Good Cholesterol (HDL)

1. Exercise more. Activities like brisk walking boost HDL levels, but aerobic exercise — the kind that really increases your heart rate — seems to have the added bonus of encouraging HDL's anti-inflammatory activity, even if the levels don't go up much.

2. Eat "good" fats. Trans fat lowers HDL, and saturated fat seems to detract from some of its positive attributes. The monounsaturated fats found in olive and canola oils reduce LDL without adversely affecting HDL. The omega-3 fats increase HDL.

3. Eat whole grains. The high-carbohydrate diets often recommended for heart disease prevention reduce HDL levels, although that adverse effect is tempered if you eat whole grains instead of refined carbohydrates.

4. Lose weight. Dropping pounds, whether it be from diet or exercise, increases HDL.

5. Quit smoking. Smokers have lower HDL levels than nonsmokers. Levels bounce back up once people quit.

6. Drink, but only in moderation. Alcohol increases HDL, and the more people drink, the higher it goes. Alcoholics tend to have great HDL numbers. Of course the adverse effects of high alcohol intake swamp any benefit from a high HDL.