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6 Tips to Increase HDL Cholesterol Levels

Published on: Jun 18, 2024
4 min Read
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Do you feel a higher cholesterol level is always bad for your health? If this is related to you, then it is high time to reconsider your ideas.

There are some cholesterols like the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which is a good cholesterol.

This blog explains HDL cholesterol’s significance and tips for sustainably increasing its levels.

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How is an Increase in HDL Cholesterol Beneficial?

An increase in the good HDL cholesterol removes the bad low-density lipoprotein (LDL) from the blood.

Moreover, HDL cholesterol also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects on your system, which decreases your heart disease and stroke risk.

Optimal HDL Levels

Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams/deciliter (mg/dL). Here is a breakdown of optimal HDL levels for men, women and children, according to the American Heart Association recommendation.

HDL Level Children Women Men
Good 45 mg/dL or higher 50 mg/dL or higher 40 mg/dL or higher
Low n/a Lower than 50 mg/dL Lower than 40 mg/dL
High 200 mg/dL or higher 60 mg/dL or higher 60 mg/dL or higher

Table 1: Range of Cholesterol Levels 

Tips for Increasing HDL Cholesterol Levels

Follow these simple yet proven tips to increase your HDL cholesterol level.

1. Include Handful of Walnuts & Almonds as Snacks

One of the best ways to increase your HDL cholesterol is by consuming healthy nuts like walnuts and almonds as a mid-meal snack. They are rich in fiber and contain plant sterol, which prevents cholesterol absorption by your system.

Research studies have shown a 12-16% increase in HDL cholesterol in patients regularly consuming almonds.

Healthy Walnuts & Almonds-Based Recipes

  • Mixed fruit salad with almonds and walnuts
  • Roasted almonds for mid-meal snacking
  • Oatmeal with almonds and walnuts
  • Oats, almonds and walnuts ladoo
  • Almond Walnut Dates Bar

2. Add Vibrant Fruits & Vegetables to Meals

Planning your meals around a vibrant array of colorful fruits and vegetables increases HDL cholesterol levels notably. Include different-coloured vegetables and fruits on a weekly basis.

These vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which reduce inflammation, minimise the damaging effect of free radicals, and considerably increase HDL cholesterol.

3. Consume Fatty Fish Once or Twice a Week

Fill up your plate with omega-3 fatty acids-rich fish to increase your HDL cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and improve the functioning of cells on artery walls.

If fresh fish are unavailable, you may also start fish oil supplements under your physician’s guidance for optimal HDL cholesterol levels.

Common Fatty Fish for Increasing HDL Cholesterol

  • Salmon (Rawas)
  • Mackerel (Bangda)
  • Sardines (Tarli)
  • Black cod (Butter fish/ Rohu)
  • Herring (Koimeen)
  • Anchovies ( Mandeli/ Yerli)

4. Avoid Processed, Packaged, or Fried Food

Stay away from processed, packaged, and fried foods, as they decrease HDL cholesterol and raise LDL cholesterol. These foods contain trans fat, which is added when prepared in partially hydrogenated oils.

Manufacturers include margarine in processed, packaged and fried food, which increases the trans fat content of the products. Though this process increases the shelf life of canned food items, it is not healthy for consumers.

Packaged foods induce inflammation, increase bad LDL cholesterol, and decrease good HDL cholesterol.

Plan your diet around fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Avoid processed and packaged food like nuggets, chips, French fries, chicken wings, frozen pies, and frozen kebabs.

5. Quit Smoking

The harmful chemicals in cigarettes lead to multiple health issues, including an adverse effect on your heart health and HDL cholesterol level. Quit smoking today to reduce your LDL cholesterol and improve HDL cholesterol.

If quitting smoking instantly seems challenging to you, then you leave it gradually or seek the help of nicotine gums, sprays, patches, and inhalers. Abstinence from smoke will also reduce your heart disease and lung cancer risk considerably.

6. Indulge in Regular Exercises

Work out for 30-40 minutes for 5 days a week to increase HDL cholesterol levels significantly. Strength training, high-intensity exercise, and aerobic exercise are some effective workouts for improving HDL levels.

These exercises also have an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect on your system.

Research suggests that aerobic exercises like jogging, cycling, swimming, walking, rowing, and running have a positive impact on HDL levels.

How We At Fitterfly Can Help You?

HDL cholesterols are good cholesterols in your body. If you increase their level, they would remove the bad LDL cholesterol and reduce heart disease risks.

Doctors recommend regular lipid profile tests to determine your cholesterol levels.

If your HDL cholesterol is below the optimal range, book an appointment with your local cardiologist. They will prescribe appropriate lifestyle modifications and medications (if required) to increase your HDL cholesterol.

Need guidance regarding effective diet and exercise plans to improve your cholesterol levels? Fitterfly has India’s first heart health program, FitHeart, where our dedicated coaches will craft customized diet and exercise plans based on your present health parameters.

We encourage you to give us a missed call at 08047360646 to know more about the FitHeart Program. Let us be a partner in your healthy heart journey.


This blog provides general information for educational and informational purposes only and shouldn't be seen as professional advice.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the optimal HDL cholesterol level for adults?

The optimal HDL cholesterol level for men is 40 mg/dl or higher, while that for women is 60 mg/dl or higher.

Why is HDL cholesterol recommended as good cholesterol?

HDL cholesterol is good cholesterol because it removes the bad LDL cholesterol from the system and reduces your heart disease and stroke risks.

How can I find out my HDL cholesterol level?

You can determine your HDL cholesterol level by taking a lipid profile blood test. You can visit your nearby diagnostic clinic to undergo this test.

How can lifestyle modifications increase my HDL cholesterol level?

Doctors advocate lifestyle modifications to increase HDL cholesterol as a first-line therapy, as it does not require medication and is a sustainable and safer option.

What would happen if my HDL cholesterol remains below optimal level?

If your HDL cholesterol remains below the optimal level, then your LDL cholesterol will increase above the standard range. There is also a chance of plaque build-up and heart disease risk.

- By Fitterfly Health-Team

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