Some research indicates that HDL-cholesterol carries cholesterol away from the bloodstream and back to the liver, where it is passed out of the body. A high level of HDL seems to protect against cardiovascular disease, and a low level indicates a greater risk. HDL-cholesterol levels range from 40 to 50 mg/dl in the average man; from 50 to 60 mg/dl in the average woman. HDL-cholesterol less than 40 mg/dl is considered low and HDL-cholesterol greater than 60 mg/dl is desirable.
To achieve healthful HDL levels:
- Participate in regular aerobic exercise such as walking, biking, swimming, or jogging
- Quit smoking
- Lose weight if you are overweight, and maintain a healthy body weight