HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein) is a molecule in the body which removes cholesterol from the bloodstream and transports it to the liver where it is broken down and removed from the body in bile. HDL cholesterol is commonly known as 'good cholesterol'.
What might a low result mean?
Lower levels of HDL can indicate an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. This is because HDL works to get rid of excess cholesterol from cells and within vessel walls.
What might a high result mean?
Elevated levels of HDL are protective against cardiovascular disease. This is because having higher levels of HDL increases the amount of cholesterol that is being transported to the liver for disposal. This reduces the amount of cholesterol deposited within artery walls, lowering the risk of hypertension and blockages.
How might I improve my result?
You may be able to improve your HDL cholesterol levels by eating more oily fish (like salmon, mackerel and herring) as well as healthy oils found in plant foods such as chia seeds, flax, nuts and olive oil. These are all staples of the Mediterranean diet which has been shown to be one of the best diets for heart health.
Losing weight and taking regular exercise also has lots of benefits for your cholesterol levels, raising HDL while lowering LDL and triglycerides.