Keeping your LDL (bad) cholesterol low is essential to heart health.

One part of controlling LDL is boosting your HDL (good) cholesterol, especially if you’re at risk for heart attack or stroke. Basic good health is key to better HDL. Adopting positive lifestyle habits can also help lower LDL cholesterol and lead to other healthful effects. Top recommendations include:

  1. Get active. Moderate- to vigorous-intensity exercise is best for boosting HDL. Aim for 150 minutes per week of exercise, preferably activity that raises your heart rate.
    • Note: Get your health care provider’s approval before significantly changing your exercise routine.
  2. Lose excess weight. Losing 5% to 10% of your current weight can raise HDL, along with reducing blood pressure and blood sugar.
  3. Avoid trans fats. Some manufacturers have eliminated trans fats, but they remain in some baked goods, fried foods and crackers — so check Nutrition Facts labels. Removing trans fats from your diet can improve HDL and LDL levels. Choose better fats found in nuts, olive oil and avocados instead.
  4. Reduce refined carbohydrates. Switch to whole grains, such as oats, quinoa and brown rice, instead of white four and white rice. Eat less sugar from baked goods, candy and ice cream.
  5. Limit sugary and highly processed foods; replace with fruits, vegetables and protein low in saturated fat.
  6. Stop smoking. Smoking lowers your HDL and raises your LDL.

 

Enjoy the recipe of the week:

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Bars

Credit: ©2019 American Heart Association, Inc.

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