10 Ways to Raise Your HDL

Hello and Happy Monday! Are you ready for the first full week of March? How was your weekend? I had a fabulous dinner with hubby and friends on Friday, mother/daughter shopping on Saturday, and catch up and relaxation on Sunday. I am ready to start this week strong! Some exciting things happening with my full-time job, lots of health coach studying to do, my workouts, and my first 5K for 2013 is this coming Saturday. I am super excited.

While you are reading this, I am off having an echocardiogram. My new GP requested one since she can hear my heart murmur (which I thought I only had while I was a baby). I will keep you posted once I have the results back.

Anyways, I got some of my lab results back. I am waiting to see all the numbers in writing, but the nurse called and said everything was normal except my HDL, which was a little low. HDL is the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol also known as the “good” cholesterol. Higher is better in this case. I don’t know my exact number, but will once the written results arrive.

What the nurse said to me next is part of our health care problem and one of the reasons I wanted to become a health coach. She said “your HDL is a little low, you should exercise.” Never asked if I was exercising – which I am. Never offered what type of exercise or length. Just exercise, goodbye.

Obviously my intent is to exercise and to exercise more as I am still in recovery mode. Once I get to walking 5Ks every weekend or at least 3 weekends per month, I will be back on track. However, there are MULTIPLE ways to raise your HDL and I thought I would share them with you since they were not shared with me.

Source: tumblr.com via Brittany on Pinterest

The most common ways to raise your HDL:

1. Exercise. Most articles I saw mentioned 30 minutes of walking a day and 2-3 more intense workouts throughout the week. This is definitely something I will aim for and will be bringing my workout tracker next time I see the doctor.

My Walking Path

2. Lose Weight. I definitely intend to do this. For every 6.6 pounds lost, your HDL goes up a point. This is probably where I need to concentrate the most. Since my 90 day goal is to lose 10 pounds, this could boost my HDL by 1.5 points.

dumbbell apple (cropped)

3. Choose better fats. Replace saturated and trans fats with monounsaturated fats. This will not only help reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol, it may also increase levels of “good” cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats such as canola oil, avocado oil, or olive oil and in the fats found in peanut butter can increase HDL cholesterol levels without increasing the total cholesterol.

4. Alcohol in moderation. Almost every article I found mentioned this, which was kind of surprising. They did say only 1 glass per day for females and 2 per day for males. While one mentioned red wine, most mentioned alcohol in general. Not being a huge drinker to start with, I probably will not be adopting this one. Plus, I am not a fan of drinking my calories.

5. Stop smoking. I have never smoked in my life and I don’t intend to start now.

6. Opt for more Omega-3s. I have started taking fish oil supplements on a daily basis. I try to eat salmon at least once per week and often have seafood 3-4 times per week.

Nature Made Fish Oil

7. Eat less sugar. Essentially cutting back on simple carbohydrates – cakes, cookies, high sugar cereals, processed foods, etc.

These items were mentioned once or twice:

8. Drink orange juice or cranberry juice. Since I try not to drink my calories, I may add a glass here and there, but I am not counting on either of these to do the trick.

9. Add soluble fiber. Essentially eat more fruits and vegetables. I was surprised this wasn’t mentioned more frequently in the articles I read.

10. Take a calcium supplement. Mentioned for women. I am not currently taking a calcium supplement, so I will be adding these to my regimen.

There you go! Ten ways to raise your HDL. Seems to be the best way to raise your HDL is to add in multiple ways to your lifestyle instead of putting all your eggs in one basket (i.e., exercise). This is the path I have chosen to take.

How is your HDL? Are you doing anything specifically to keep the number raised? When was the last time you had a physical? If over a year ago, time to schedule one.

Enjoy your day!


7 Responses to “10 Ways to Raise Your HDL”

  1. SUCH a great follow up to the BLUE DIAMOND chat too.
    Ill share!!

  2. I’ll be honest: I had to check out your post just to find out what HDL was…thanks for educating me!

    I do, however, know what good/bad cholesterol are, and my numbers have typically been high for both. But I’m doing most of the things you mention, so hopefully I’m on the right track…

    • Glenneth

      I had my doctor send me a copy of all my results so I can do my own checking and research. Also, I can better see the trends if I have all the info.

  3. Last time I checked my HDL was okay but I am curious as to what it will be the next time I have it checked. Having lost 30 lbs and exercising more… 🙂

    • Glenneth

      Definitely a good thing to get checked and keep track of.