Intermediate levels of HDL (good) cholesterol may increase longevity, according to recent study. On the other hand, both high and low levels of HDL cholesterol may increase one’s risk of premature death.
Study senior author Ziyad Al-Aly said, “The findings surprised us. Previously, it was thought that raised levels of the good cholesterol were beneficial. The relationship between increased levels of HDL cholesterol and early death is unexpected and not fully clear yet. This will require further study.”
The researchers studied the kidney function and HDL cholesterol levels in over 1.7 million veterans who were followed from October 2003 through September 2013.
Kidney disease patients often have lower HDL cholesterol levels, which could possibly explain their increased early mortality risk. Still, the link between higher HDL cholesterol and early mortality has been unclear. The present study revealed that both high and low levels of HDL cholesterol raised the risk of mortality among subjects with varying kidney function.
Al-Aly added, “The findings may explain why clinical trials aimed at increasing HDL cholesterol levels failed to show improved outcomes. However, the previous studies are limited in that the number of patients in those cohorts is relatively small compared with what a big data approach enabled us to see in our new research. Big data allow a more nuanced examination of the relationship between HDL cholesterol and risk of death across the full spectrum of HDL cholesterol levels.”
The data took a U-shaped curve demonstrating that too high or too low levels of HDL cholesterol can lead to premature death.
How to maintain healthy cholesterol levels
Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels not that complicated. Here are some tips to help you achieve healthy cholesterol numbers.
- Exercise regularly
- Lose some weight
- Take a look at your genetics – sometimes cholesterol issues are inherited
- Promote good gut bacteria with probiotic-rich foods
- Reduce stress
- Quit smoking
- Reduce your intake of dietary saturated fats
- Limit your intake of simple carbohydrates
- Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum
Diet is definitely a key factor when it comes to cholesterol. Below you will find a list of healthy cholesterol-promoting foods.
- Olive oil
- Fatty fish
- Red wine
- Grass-fed meat
- Whole grain
- Dark chocolate