In addition to keeping your low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad” cholesterol) level low, you should consider taking steps to boost your high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good” cholesterol) level if it is too low.
“A high HDL is associated with a lower risk for heart disease,” says Matthew B. Schumer, MD, family medicine physician at Saint Francis Medical Center. “While LDL typically receives all the attention, you should also keep a close eye on your HDL, too.”
To raise your HDL level, keep an eye on your weight. Being overweight or obese can cause a low HDL level, as can being sedentary. “You should exercise at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week,” says Schumer.
Another way to boost your HDL level is to choose monounsaturated fats (such as avocados and peanut butter) over saturated fats (such as butter, cheese and processed meats).