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Heart diseases are a common cause of death in developed countries and every year millions of people fall prey to them. Lack of exercises, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle are some common causes of these conditions. Cholesterol is often associated with cardiac arrest; however, one needs to understand that cholesterol is not entirely bad for your heart. In fact, a type of cholesterol called HDL, actually protects your heart from diseases. It is the LDL (or bad cholesterol) that you should keep away from. Although, HDL is naturally processed by the body, there are number of ways in which you can stimulate the HDL production in your body.

How to Increase HDL Naturally

Aerobic Exercises
Different forms of aerobic exercises such as jogging and walking elevate your heartbeat, which is beneficial for synthesis of HDL cholesterol. Even cycling is known to increase your heartbeat which is beneficial for HDL production. Performing these exercises for at least 20 to 30 minutes, 3 to 4 times a week can significantly increase HDL cholesterol. Moreover, these exercises are also beneficial for weight loss, which in turn has a positive effect on HDL cholesterol production.

Weight Loss
As aforementioned, weight loss can considerably increase your HDL levels. Since, obesity is the prime cause of heart diseases, shedding those extra pounds can indeed do you a lot good. If you have fat accumulated around your abdominal region, then you should opt for various exercises to lose weight. Weight loss can also be achieved through a controlled diet. In either case, you will improve your HDL levels which will be beneficial for your heart.

Quit Smoking
Smoking has a very adverse effect on your health. It is not just bad for your lungs, but you are also at the risk of developing various forms of cancer. It can increase your HDL by up to 10%. Hence, avoid smoking to get rid of all the health problems induced by smoking. If you quit smoking, you will notice a substantial rise in the HDL cholesterol in your body.

Moderate Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol, when consumed in small quantities can be actually beneficial for your heart. Many doctors advise their patients to drink one or two drinks per day, to stimulate the HDL production. However, if consumed in excess, then it may increase the risk of developing several health problems, including heart and liver failure.

Eliminating Trans Fatty Acids
Cut down the intake of trans fatty acids, as they not only increase the level of LDL, but also reduce the HDL level in the body. However, cutting down on trans fatty acids may not be an easy task as they are an indispensable ingredient of many of our favorite foods. Any food with a nutrition label that reads 'partially hydrogenated vegetable oils' should be avoided, as they are a source of trans fatty acids.

Diet
Incorporate foods like canola oil, avocado oil, or olive oil, which are basically monounsaturated fats. These oils increase HDL cholesterol levels, without increasing the total cholesterol levels. Fats in peanut butter is also good for your heart. Oats, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, which contain soluble fibers, should be consumed to increase HDL and decrease LDL levels. Additionally, you may also elevate your HDL levels by consuming fish oil, cranberry juice, and other low-fat foods.

If you wish to increase HDL levels fast, then you should combine the methods given above. Since, these techniques are a step towards healthy living, you should certainly adhere to them and adopt a healthy lifestyle in general.