10 Evidence-Based Natural Ways to Increase HDL Cholesterol

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is the “good” cholesterol. It is essential to good health.

HDL also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and science has shown a direct link to good HDL levels and a reduced risk of heart disease.

I recommend minimum HLD blood levels of 40 mg/dl in men and 50 mg/dl in women.

Here are 10 evidence-based natural ways to increase HDL cholesterol:

# 1 – Eat olives and use olive oil.

Millions of Mediterranean’s can’t be wrong. The Med Diet works.

One study gave 200 healthy young men about 2 tablespoons of different olive oils per day for three weeks. High quality EVOO increased HDL levels significantly. (6)

In another study, 4 tablespoons of high-polyphenol extra virgin olive oil every day for six weeks increased HDL increased by 6.5 mg/dl, on average (7).

# 2 – Low-carb diet

Low-carb diets have been shown to increase HDL cholesterol in people who tend to have lower levels such as the obese and those with diabetes and insulin resistance.

One study looked at low carb versus higher carb. The low-carb group’s HDL cholesterol increased almost twice as much as the high-carb group’s did (14)!

In another study, obese people who followed a low-carb diet experienced an increase in HDL cholesterol of 5 mg/dl overall. Meanwhile, in the same study, the participants who ate a low-fat, high-carb diet showed a decrease in HDL cholesterol (15).

One study in overweight women found that diets high in meat and cheese increased HDL levels by 5-8%, compared to a higher-carb diet (18).

# 3 – Get active

Being physically active is important for heart health and boosts HDL. Numerous studies confirm that strength training and high-intensity exercise boost HDL. Skip the indoor treadmill and get outside and hike, walk, and bike. Use body weight to build muscle.

Activity also boost HDL function and its anti-inflammatory properties.

# 4 – Get Sleep

Most animals go to sleep with the sundown and awake with this sunrise. This behavior also happens to boost HDL number. Less than 7 hours of sleep or more than 10 hours of sleep reduced HDL. Sleep with nature to boost HDL.

# 5 – Eat coconuts and coconut oil

A recent study found that coconut oil raised HDL number. Two tablespoons daily was the dose. Great for cooking and baking.

Soybean oil reduces HDL number. Avoid soy.

Viva le coconut!

# 6 – Berries boost

Strawberries and blueberries can raise HDL numbers. Limited trials and small numbers, but common sense tell us that berries have tremendous heart benefits.

One study found that blueberries plus exercise boosted HDL better than exercise alone.

# 7 – Fatty Fish

Load up on sardines, anchovy, wild salmon and herring. Shellfish too. Major boost in HDL number with this group.

# 8 – Probiotics and probiotic-rich foods

Pass me the cultured veggies such as kimchi and sauerkraut. These raw foods are loaded with good bacteria.

Turns out that probiotic supplements boost HDL. Patients love our probiotic called Gut Flora.

Cultured veggies also act as pre-biotics to support the good bacteria.

# 9 – Pasture-raised eggs

Many studies demonstrate that eggs are heart healthy. One mechanism may be improved HDL number. I like mine cooked over easy with plenty of added herbs and spices. How about you?

Enjoy the above strategies to boost HDL numbers.

# 10 – Use this supplement to help naturally raise HDL:

Berberine – this is a plant-based natural supplement to raise HDL. It’s ideal for promoting healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It may very well be the single most powerful supplement we carry. Due to soil depletion and modern farming practices, it’s nearly impossible to get the nutrition you need from food alone. Use Berberine as the supplement of choice to boost HDL.

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