HDL LDL Ratio - Raise HDL to Prevent Heart Disease

The HDL LDL ratio indicates your risk of heart disease. The higher the hdl level, the less risk of a heart attack. I will show how you can increase HDL, what foods help raise HDL to improve your cholesterol hdl ratio, and how to avoid the things that lower HDL.

About the Ratio

High Density Lipoprotein mistakenly called hdl cholesterol, is a substance that carries cholesterol particles from your artery walls back through the bloodstream and into the liver where some of it is metabolized and some excreted from your body in the form of bile salts. hdl-cholesterol In theory, this is how your HDL level protects you against cardiovascular disease. Statistics tell us that when the cholesterol hdl ratio is favorable, your risk of heart problems is minimized. It makes sense to learn how to raise HDL, and keep the HDL LDL ratio as good as possible. The cholesterol hdl ratio is determined by taking your LDL, (low-density cholesterol) number, and dividing it by your HDL (high-density cholesterol) number. The resulting number is what doctors use to determine your risk of cardiovascular disease. The higher the HDL level, the lower the risk. Lets look at some numbers to give you an idea of how this works. For example:
  • Total cholesterol is: 200
  • HDL is: 50
  • LDL is: 150
The ratio would be: 3
The chart below will tell you what HDL level is considered good. The HDL LDL ratio in the above example would be considered excellent, and would mean that you have a below average risk of cardiovascular disease.

American Heart Association Guidelines

DesirableBorderline Risk
High Risk
Total Cholesterol
200 or less
240 and over
60 or higher
40 to 59
40 or less (men)
60 or higher
50 to 59
50 or less (women)
less than 100
less than 150

What you should keep in mind is that while these are official recommendation of the American Heart Association, I have used them for reference. It is very hard to factor how much drug companies have influenced these recommendations. Over time, what was considered to be good or safe cholesterol hdl ratio has been adjusted and I am afraid this is at least in part due to the push to get more people on cholesterol lowering medications. Foods to raise HDL are not emphasized for this reason. The current medical model for prevention of cardiovascular disease focuses on drug therapy. This is why you must learn how to increase HDL and get the optimal HDL LDL ratio to prevent heart disease. High-density lipoproteins have recently been found to have potent antioxidant activity, and this may well be the reason for its “protective” role in regards to vascular disease. See the notation below:

Vohl MC, Neville TA, Kumarathasan R, Braschi S, Sparks DL: A novel lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase antioxidant activity prevents the formation of oxidized lipids during lipoprotein oxidation. Biochemistry; 1999 May 11;38(19):5976-81

How To Increase HDL

Now that we know that a good HDL LDL ratio has been statistically shown to be beneficial to your cardiovascular health, let’s go about getting those levels as close to optimal as possible, with exercise, supplements, and foods to raise HDL and improve the cholesterol hdl rati. There are several things that will raise your HDL level. The foods to increase HDL do it in several ways. Some foods like healthy fats, provide the raw materials or (precursors) your body needs to make HDL. Other foods such as high fiber foods and low glycemic fruits and vegetables may indirectly raise HDL by preventing inflammation, boosting antioxidant status, and lowering blood sugar and insulin. Some of these foods may also possess antioxidant activity themselves and work synergistically with HDL to protect against cardiovascular disease. Specific supplements that will raise HDL levels and help optimize the HDL LDL ratio are:
  • Fish oil
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5)
  • niacin – (vitamin B-3)
  • Gugulipid
  • Coenzyme Q-10
  • Carnitine
  • Vitamin-C
  • Vitamin-D
  • Magnesium
  • Polycosanol
  • Vitamin E-complex
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid
  • N-Acetyl-Cysteine
  • CLA – conjugated linoleic acid
All of these supplements help increase HDL levels, however niacin (B-3) and calcium pantothenate (B-5) are the most effective, so you should focus on them first, and add others if needed.

Foods to Raise HDL

There are a number of foods that are claimed to raise HDL levels. Among these are:
  • Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines
  • Raw nuts and seeds such as walnuts, pecans, almonds, and flaxseeds
  • Whole eggs
  • Onions
  • Fresh raw low glycemic vegetables – especially dark leafy greens
  • Oat bran
  • Alcohol - 1 or 2 drinks per day maximum
While I hesitate to recommend drinking alcohol for raising HDL, research indicate that it helps. Please remember though, that this is not a license to drink to excess! One way to ensure you are going in the right direction is to understand what will lower HDL, and by avoiding them, you will help optimize your cholesterol hdl ratio. Things to avoid which will lower Hdl are:
  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Eating trans fats
  • Gaining weight (fat not muscle)
  • Eating sugar

Action Steps

  • Get your HDL LDL ratio tested to establish baseline levels
  • Work in 3 sessions of circuit weight training or interval training per week
  • Eat for your blood type and metabolic type
  • Avoid of refined foods as possible – stick to raw fruits and vegetables
  • Be sure to get plenty of good fats in your daily diet
  • Supplement with niacin (B-3) and calcium pantothenate (B-5) to raise HDL
Sound hard? It’s really not. Over time you can work in small positive changes to your lifestyle that will add up in the long run. Wellness and antiaging work when they become habits that you just do without really thinking about them. You will learn about the foods that raise HDL and gradually insert them into your diet, replacing the foods that are less healthy. You will also learn how to raise HDL, and in time these steps will become so automatic, you wont even have to think about them. The HDL LDL ratio is one of the cornerstones of wellness and antiaging. It’s a benchmark that will help you really reduce your risk of heart disease and ensure a long and healthy life!

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