How to Raise HDL While Lowering LDL Naturally

Fish oil capsules on white background
Omega-3 pills on a table. (Image: peangdao/iStock/Getty Images)

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is produced naturally in your liver and helps with cell formation and hormone release. It is composed of LDL, which stands for "low-density lipoprotein," and HDL, which stands for "high-density lipoprotein." Your LDL is your bad cholesterol and your HDL is the good kind. When LDL is high and HDL is low, your risk for suffering a stroke or heart attack goes up. To raise your HDL and lower your LDL, there are several steps you can follow that are completely natural.

Step 1

Eat more fish. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that the body cannot produce on its own, but that it needs for proper functioning. According to the Maryland Medical Center, omega-3 fats can help increase your HDL levels. You can find this fat in coldwater fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and halibut. Fish oil supplements that contain EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) can also help lower your LDL levels. These are two other types of essential fats.

Step 2

Increase your fiber intake. Fiber comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble. Soluble gets absorbed in water and it forms a gel in your intestines. According to the Mayo Clinic, 10 g of soluble fiber a day can help lower your LDL cholesterol. You can find this type of fiber in foods like beans, oatmeal, oat bran, barley, prunes and apples.

Step 3

Lose excess weight. Being overweight can increase your risk factors for many diseases and it can also raise your LDL levels and lower your HDL levels. If you are above your ideal weight, reduce your daily caloric consumption by 500 calories. This can cause you to lose a pound of weight each week.

Step 4

Avoid certain foods. Foods that are high in cholesterol, trans fats and saturated fats should be eliminated from your diet. This includes deep-fried foods, whole-fat dairy products, fast food, commercial baked goods and any foods that have partially or fully hydrogenated oils in them.

Step 5

Perform more exercise. Exercise brings numerous benefits to the body such as improved mobility, better brain function, improved strength and weight control. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, regular physical activity can also help raise your HDL levels and lower your LDL levels. To take advantage of this, exercise every day for at least 30 minutes. Examples of things you can do include walking, running, weight lifting, stair stepping and playing tennis.

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