Is it important to increase my HDL (good) cholesterol level?

Is it important to increase my HDL (good) cholesterol level? How do I go about doing it?

Much focus has been given to the reduction of LDL (bad) Cholesterol to reduce the risk of development of heart attack, stroke and sudden death. But increasing your HDL (good) cholesterol is equally important.

HDL (good) cholesterol is a scavenger molecule that removes cholesterol from plaque in blood vessels and delivers it to the liver for excretion. A high HDL level has been proven to:

  1. Increase your longevity (reduce mortality).
  2. Reduce the development of atherosclerotic disease.
  3. Reduce the risk of heart attack, strokes and sudden cardiac death.

So far, efforts to increase HDL levels with drugs haven’t been proven to reduce cardiac risk and are not recommended in the guidelines, but the following dietary and lifestyle changes will help tremendously.


  1. Get Physically active : 30mins of moderate intensity exercise 3x/week
  2. Eat better fats : Mono/polyunsaturated fats (Olive/Canola/Sesame seed oils)
  3. Cut out trans-fat : Processed food made with partially hydrogenated oils (Donuts, fast/fried food, margarine)
  4. Lose weight
  5. Stop smoking

Healthy Target for HDL: > 60mg/dL

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