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High density lipoproteins (HDL) or 'good cholesterol' is a type of cholesterol that is extremely essential for smooth functioning of the human body. Cholesterol plays an important role in the functioning of the various systems in the body, and in determining the health of the human heart. There are two major types of cholesterol, viz., HDL or good cholesterol and LDL or bad cholesterol. The levels of both these types of cholesterol can affect bodily functions and hence, arises a need to keep a tab on their levels. Absence of the desirable levels of HDL or the presence of undesirable levels of LDL can lead to the development of many health related problems. Therefore, we must be aware of the ideal HDL levels to maintain our body in good condition.

Normal Good Cholesterol Level

All cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL) units. Usually, a check for the HDL cholesterol levels in a person involves checking for the total blood cholesterol. The test will also show the LDL levels. The normal high density lipoproteins levels will vary depending upon your gender. The normal adult range is considered to fall between 35 mg/dL- 60 mg/dL. The normal HDL numbers in children below 19 years of age is 35 mg/dL. Good cholesterol that measures anything above 60 mg/dL is considered to be high, while the levels lesser than 40 mg/dL are considered low, which further indicate higher risk of developing cardiovascular disorders.

Men
In men, HDL cholesterol levels are considered to be normal when they measure anything between 40 mg/dL to 50 mg/dL.

Women
In women, good cholesterol levels are considered to be normal when they measure anything between 50 mg/dL to 60 mg/dL.

The levels of good cholesterol in women are higher due to the presence of the female sex hormones. These levels in men and women can be affected due to many factors like, obesity, excessive consumption of alcohol, junk food, and smoking. Certain medical conditions can also cause HDL levels to drop and LDL levels to rise.

Raising HDL Levels

HDL cholesterol performs an important function in the human body. It soaks up the extra cholesterol in the blood, and lowers LDL or bad cholesterol levels, thereby protecting you from the risk of heart disease. If you have low levels of high density lipoproteins, don't fret, as an increase in good cholesterol levels is surely possible. Good HDL levels can be achieved by following some healthy and natural procedures. The most important thing to do for obtaining normal levels of HDL is to follow healthy lifestyle and healthy eating habits. This is what helps increase the levels the most. Other methods include exercising regularly, consuming monounsaturated fat-rich foods, like, olive oil, avocados, and nuts, and maintaining an optimum and healthy weight. Aerobic exercises are known to be especially beneficial for those looking to raise HDL levels. Consumption of grapes, soy, oranges, and fish or fish oil supplements have also proven to be beneficial in raising good cholesterol levels.

If you have a family history of heart diseases, it is advisable that you get your cholesterol levels checked at least twice a year. It is also essential that you put in efforts to maintain normal HDL levels to reduce the risk of heart disease. Consult your physician regarding other ways that you can use to increase HDL levels and lower LDL levels in the blood.