5. Stay away from partially hydrogenated oils. Margarine, non-dairy creamer, frozen pizza and biscuits, peanut butter, and baked goods are all suspect. When studying a food label, the box at the top may say “0 grams trans fat,” yet you can still find small amounts of partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredients list.
6. Drink alcohol moderately. Women should stick to one glass of wine or beer a day, men to two. In these small amounts, alcohol may actually help raise good cholesterol.
Beyond changing what you eat, three basic health moves should be part of your plan for how to raise good cholesterol: maintain a healthy weight, exercise, and don’t smoke.
7. Lose extra weight. In a study of more than 3,000 overweight and obese Japanese adults, losing at least 6.6 lbs led to a HDL increase, on average, of 4 mg/dl. The study concluded that people should aim to lose at least 3 percent of their weight.
8. Exercise. Any kind of exercise is good for raising HDL, but high-intensity interval training may be the best, according to a small study with middle-aged, overweight men. Lower-intensity exercise — for instance, alternating running with walking — will also help by boosting the benefits of the HDL you have.
9. Quit smoking. Cigarettes reduce HDL, and cutting out smoking can raise HDL or improve its function. Switching to electronic cigarettes helps. It’s not yet clear whether your HDL will go up while you’re on nicotine patches.
December 15, 2017
Janet O’Dell, RN