Not all cholesterol has to be bad. Here's how to boost HDL cholesterol levels

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Why some cholesterol is good

HDL, or 'high-density lipoprotein', cholesterol is the body's LDL cholesterol clean-up crew, actually fusing with the bad type of cholesterol and carrying it to the liver for disposal. New evidence suggests that HDLs also act as antioxidants, shielding LDLs from the type of damage that promotes plaque.

Long ignored by doctors, HDL is now taken seriously by researchers and clinicians as a heart-protection factor. Studies show that low HDL levels are an independent risk factor, and research suggests that for every 0.03 mmol/l increase in HDL, cardiovascular risk is reduced by 2-3 percent. HDL can remove cellular cholesterol, and has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-clotting properties. Together, these inhibit atherosclerosis and improve the health of arterial linings, so reducing cardiovascular risk. This even applies to patients taking statins who have already achieved target levels of LDL, say cardiologists at University College London.

Here are some ways that you can increase your HDL levels.

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