What is Good Cholesterol and How Do I Increase it?

By now most of us have heard about good cholesterol vs. bad, but how many know the difference between the two types?

Put simply, the good stuff is HDL (high density lipoprotein) and the bad stuff is LDL (low density lipoprotein). So what you want to learn is how to raise good cholesterol and lower the bad, giving you a favorable overall score.

An excess of LDL builds up slowly on the walls of the arteries feeding the heart and brain. Along with other substances it begins to form a hard deposit, plaque, which can clog the arteries. This situation, over time, can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Rather than focusing on how to raise the good, the ratio of good to bad is most important. LDL of less than 100 mg/dL is optimal, but anything less than 130 mg/dL is good for most individuals. High levels, more than 160 mg/dL or 130 mg/dL if you have two or more cardiovascular disease risk factors, are an indication of an increased risk of heart disease.

HDL is called good cholesterol because it helps protect you from cardiovascular disease. Researchers believe HDL carries bad cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it is reprocessed and eventually removed from the body. Some research has shown that HDL actually extracts cholesterol from plaque that has formed in the arterial walls.

Although good cholesterol foods can make a difference, about 80% of your total cholesterol is produced by your liver. It is a necessary component for the manufacturing of bile salts, hormones and vitamin D. Saturated fats and trans fatty acids are the main culprits in raising blood cholesterol levels. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats found in nuts and fish can lower LDL levels, as can soluble fiber found in fruits, oats, barley and legumes. Increasing your level of physical activity can also help increase HDL cholesterol levels.

How to raise good cholesterol levels has not been a priority with most medical professionals until recently. Most of the research has focused on lowering LDL. Some of the newer strategies include taking herbal and natural supplements, making lifestyle changes, consuming good cholesterol foods, and drug therapy.

Some of the herbs and nutrients that have been shown to help are guggul, a gum resin from the mukul myrrh tree, policosanol, curcumin, chromium, and calcium citrate. A double-blind trial showed HDL cholesterol rising in 60% of people taking guggul. A study of 437 patients showed those given policosanol had a 25% reduction in LDL cholesterol and a 28% increase in HDL cholesterol.

Ten volunteers at the Amala Cancer Research Center in India were given 500 mg of curcumin for seven days and researchers noted a 29% increase in good cholesterol and a reduction of 11.6% in bad cholesterol.

Research has shown 200 mg of chromium increasing HDL 16%, reducing the risk of a heart attack by about 20%. Calcium citrate was cited in the American Journal of Medicine in 2002 as increasing HDL levels.

Lifestyle changes are another solution to how to raise good cholesterol levels. Increasing your amount of exercise, avoiding trans fatty acids (french fries, sweets, and many fried fast foods), reducing carbohydrates, avoiding cholesterol foods such as egg yolk, liver and kidney, and stopping smoking are all proven strategies.

Good cholesterol foods include red wine, with antioxidants in cabernet sauvignon, Merlot and pinot noir that help slow the oxidation of HDL and LDL cholesterol. Orange juice is another beverage shown to help, as are beans, fish, olive oil, oat bran, onions, soy products and soluble fiber.

Featured Cholesterol Lowering Supplement

We have found a healthy low cholesterol supplement that we believe is ideal. It contains many of the natural cholesterol lowering nutrients we mention above in a perfectly balanced formula.

This special formula is called called Lipi-Rite and it contains a synergistic blend of all natural vitamins, minerals, herbal extracts and other nutrients to help naturally lower LDL and triglycerides (fats) as well as raise HDL cholesterol and promote cardiovascular health.

If you are trying to find out how to raise good cholesterol naturally, take a look at this supplement and decide if it's right for you. In conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise program, it can make a significant difference.

As with all health products, please be sure to consult your doctor before taking any supplements to increase HDL cholesterol or lower LDL. 

more than how to raise good cholesterol on our heart health page

HSG home page


Search our site...


Herbal Supplements - Best Choices

The most advanced herbal supplements on the market   

Check out the full range!


Need bulk herbs, teas, supplements and capsules?

Get the best prices here!