How do I raise my good cholesterol (HDL) while lowering my total cholesterol?

Question

Hi Rick, I recently found out that I need to drastically change my diet due to low good cholesterol and high total cholesterol. I am looking for suggestions regarding diet and exercise. How do I raise my good cholesterol (HDL) while lowering my total cholesterol?

Answer

The good news is that high density lipoproteins (HDL), the good cholesterol, can be increased through diet and physical activity. Runners tend to have good HDL levels and exercise improves circulation and normally improves blood lipid profiles. You should also try decreasing saturated fats from animal sources and replacing them with omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils, flax seed) and monounsaturated sources (olive oil, avocados). Cholesterol levels are often improved with prevalent consumption of fiber (fruits, vegetables, whole wheat, beans). Finally, some studies show garlic to play a role in decreasing total cholesterol, while moderate wine consumption may improve HDL levels. After making these adjustments, you need to continue to monitor your blood cholesterol levels with your physician, as medication is sometimes needed.