Here’s how to raise your good HDL cholesterol level – Texarkana Gazette

When two-time Grammy winner Anderson .Paak sang “Make It Better” — “I just wanna make you feel good now/Do you want to make it better?” — he was hoping to improve a deteriorating relationship and mend a breaking heart. You might want to do the same by making your levels of good HDL cholesterol better so you can mend your heart — and liver — and have a better relationship with your body.

The newest research reveals that having an HDL level of 55mg/dL or higher helps your gut biome block common inflammatory signals so they don’t damage the liver. For the 25% of American adults with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, elevating HDL levels can help prevent serious complications such as cirrhosis.

We also know that HDL serves as a chemical shuttle, moving heart-damaging LDL cholesterol from peripheral tissues to the liver so it can be excreted. That helps protect you from atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke.

What breaks up HDLs healthy relationship with your body? Research shows obesity and other diseases that trigger chronic inflammation actually turn one healthy form of HDL from a heart protector to a heart attacker.

So how do you tamp down inflammation and elevate your healthful HDL levels?

1. Upgrade your nutrition

Consume olive oil daily. It’s associated with increased HDL levels and a reduction in your risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular events and stroke.

Reduce your processed and total carb intake. One study found that compared to a high-carb weight-loss diet, folks on a low-carb diet had double the increase in HDL levels.

 Eat purple fruits and veggies and fatty fish like salmon and ocean trout. Studies on anthocyanins, extracts from purple foods like eggplant, blueberries and purple cabbage, show they can boost HDL levels by around 14% to 19%. Another study found that eating fatty fish four times a week for eight weeks boosts HDL levels significantly.

2. Exercise every day. Walking for one hour a day for 24 weeks lowered BMI and shrank waist circumference, lowered glucose and triglyceride levels, reduced inflammatory markers and boosted HDL levels from 44 to almost 48mg/dL for participants in a study published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice. Regular exercise also increases HDL’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers. The biggest increase in HDL seems to come from high-intensity exercise. Check out for info and routines for HIIT and interval training.

3. Lose weight. Over time, if you improve your nutrition and exercise more, you will shed excess pounds. Losing just 3% of your body weight can boost your HDL level significantly according to a 2013 study. And no matter how you lose weight — through a calorie-reduced diet, intermittent fasting, weight-loss surgery or a combination of diet and exercise — you’ll see your HDL level go up once you stabilize your weight at a healthy level.

Start today for a better tomorrow. As you work to increase your good HDL level, you want to lower your lousy LDL and triglycerides. HDL can only transport about a third of your blood fats — and if they’re really high, there’s no way for HDL to clear enough out through your liver to prevent damage to your cardiovascular system. Ditching red and processed meats and all added sugars and refined grains is essential to bring LDL levels down to 70 mg/dL or lower.

Now a math quiz. Your ratio of LDL to HDL or your level of non-HDL cholesterol is an important gauge of your heart health. The non-HDL level is determined by subtracting your HDL from your total cholesterol. You are aiming for around 70mg/dL. The ratio is figured by dividing total cholesterol by your HDL number. You want a ratio of 4:1 or less, although we aim for 2:1 or less. That’s total cholesterol of 120mg/dL and an HDL of 55mg/dL. So ask your doc for a blood test and figure out your healthy equation together.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit

(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D.

and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

King Features Syndicate