Before discussing HDL cholesterol, a word or two about cholesterol in general.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is found in your blood. It is important for maintaining the health of your cells and organs, but too much cholesterol can be dangerous.

There are two main types of cholesterol:

HDL (high-density lipoprotein) and LDL (low-density lipoprotein).

HDL cholesterol is considered to be “good” cholesterol because it helps remove excess cholesterol from your body.

LDL cholesterol, on the other hand, is known as bad cholesterol because it contributes to the buildup of plaque in the arteries, which can lead to heart disease and stroke.

It is important to get your cholesterol levels checked regularly to ensure that they are within a healthy range.

We’re going to look at the HDL type in detail, as well as helping you sort out your doubts around it.

What is HDL Cholesterol?

HDL cholesterol, or high-density lipoprotein, is one of the five major types of cholesterol found in the body.

It is known as the “good” cholesterol because it helps to carry excess LDL cholesterol from the cells and tissues back to the liver, where it can be processed and removed from the body.

Having higher levels of HDL cholesterol is associated with lower risk of heart attack and stroke.

While lifestyle factors such as regular exercise and a healthy diet can help to increase HDL cholesterol levels, some people may need medication to reach optimal levels.

Why is HDL Cholesterol Good?

There are a number of reasons why it’s called a good cholesterol.

  • It reduces your risk of developing heart disease by cleaning the arteries of cholesterol build-up. 
  • Helps regulate blood pressure and reduce inflammation. 
  • It helps in the production of hormones that help regulate metabolism. 
  • Helps reduce the risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. 
  • It can help reduce the risk of diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity. 
  • Can help reduce levels of LDL cholesterol or the “bad” cholesterol.

Having high HDL cholesterol is a sign of good overall health and is something that should be monitored regularly.

What are The Good Cholesterol Levels?

The following chart provides the average cholesterol levels for all age groups.

Infographic for cholesterol levels, courtesy of Cleveland Clinic.

How to Measure HDL Levels?

Measuring your HDL cholesterol levels is an important step in managing your overall health.

The most accurate way to measure your HDL cholesterol levels is a simple blood test that your doctor can recommend. This test is typically done in conjunction with other tests that measure your total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

The results of these tests will help your doctor determine if your HDL levels are within the normal range.

Are There Foods to Increase HDL Levels?

Yes, there are.

And, here are a few:

Oats and oat bran: Oats are a great source of soluble fiber, which helps to reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and increase your good cholesterol levels.

Fatty fish: Salmon, mackerel and other fatty fish are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to boost HDL levels.

Nuts and seeds: Walnuts, almonds, and other nuts are rich in monounsaturated fats, which can help to increase HDL levels.

Avocados: Avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fat, as well as fiber and other important nutrients, which help increase your HDL levels.

Olive oil: Olive oil is another great source of monounsaturated fat, which can increase your HDL levels.


If you have a question related to this blog post, write to us here and we will update this post with a response.

Sources: Mayo Clinic, CDC, WebMD, Medline Plus, Healthline (1, 2), American Heart Association, Medical News Today, Cleveland Clinic, PubMed, AHA Journals, Johns Hopkins, Spandidos Publications, American Diabetes Association.

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