Everyone knows that having high levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) or good cholesterol, is beneficial for a healthy heart. The ideal HDL level for men is 50 and for women it's is over 50. But during blood tests, it is seen that the readings are low for most people. Sadly, a majority has no idea about the ways to boost the HDL level.
HDL can be increased by focusing on two aspects; exercise and food intake. Everyone should exercise for 40-50 minutes every day. It could preferably be fast walking, cycling or swimming. These aerobic exercises would increase the HDL cholesterol level by 10%. Cutting the body weight by 5-10% also increases HDL.
Certain minerals in food items help increase good cholesterol. The Omega 3 fatty acids are the most significant among them. They are present in four types of food items, which are as follows:
Fish - sardine, mackerel, tuna and fish oil.
Nuts - almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts and groundnuts.
Seeds - flax seeds.
Oils - olive oil contains a large amount of Omega 3 fatty acids. So it can be used in salads. Mustard oil is also beneficial. It can be used for cooking.
Beans varieties rich in fibre, green gram, soya bean, leafy dishes, passion fruit and guava help increase good cholesterol levels. Green gram soaked for six hours is also very effective. When consumed judiciously, red wine too serves the purpose.
Food to be avoided
Fat will be deposited in the body when the intake of carbohydrate-rich food like sugar and rice is high. A similar effect will be seen when food with trans-fat is preferred in large quantities. In a situation where fat levels cross certain limits, the cholesterol content of the body gets altered. Among the consequences is the change in HDL level.
Saturated fat also has an impact on HDL levels. Food containing this variety of food like red meat, coconut oil, palm oil, dishes fried in oil, ghee, yellow of eggs and trans-fat high cake, other bakery items, junk food, processed food, etc. adversely affects cholesterol levels. Their use should be controlled or stopped to maintain ideal HDL levels. This will also protect you from heart attack, stroke, obesity, diabetes and some forms of cancer.