4 ways to increase ‘good’ cholesterol in your body and reduce risk of heart disease
We hear the term cholesterol and all we think about is oily foods that are bad for our heart health. But that is the work of bad cholesterol. In fact, high levels of good cholesterol can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and that is why we are here with ways that will help you increase your good cholesterol.
LDL or Low-Density Lipoprotein is bad cholesterol increases the risk of heart stroke and heart diseases, but HDL (high-density lipoprotein), or “good” cholesterol, absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver. The liver then flushes it out from the body. High levels of HDL cholesterol can lower your risk for cardiovascular diseases and keep your heart healthy.
How to increase your HDL or good cholesterol?
1. Eat foods rich in Niacin
Niacin (Vitamin B3) is a drug that is most widely used to increase HDL levels but there are also some foods that are a rich source of this substance and can be consumed to increase the levels of good cholesterol. According to a study published on the National Library of Medicine, niacin is thought to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering LDL cholesterol concentrations and raising those of HDL cholesterol. Foods like animal liver, tuna and salmon, mushrooms, potatoes, etc. are a good source of Niacin.
2. Exercise regularly
Having an active lifestyle will turn out to be beneficial for your heart health. A 2016 study published in the PubMed Central shows that acute exhaustive physical exercise increased the concentration of HDL and decreased that of LDL. So, start with a daily walk of 20-30 minutes, which can be gradually bumped up to jogging and other intensive cardio exercises.
Nuts such as almond, pistachios, peanuts, cashew nuts, etc. are rich in heart-healthy nutrients and fiber. Fiber helps in blocking the absorption of cholesterol in our body. According to a 2018 study, cashew nuts can reduce systolic blood pressure and increase HDL cholesterol concentrations with no deleterious effects on body weight, glycemia, or other lipid variables.
4. Keep your weight in check
If you are overweight or obese you are automatically at a higher risk of heart diseases. Studies have shown that decreasing your body fat by even 3 percent results in a significant increase in the HDL levels.