What does an HDL level of 70 mean?
An HDL cholesterol level of 70 mg/dL is considered optimal. HDL levels in the 60-100 mg/dL range are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, so the higher, the better.
Factors that could contribute to an HDL level of 70
A variety of factors can affect HDL levels, including your diet, weight, and physical activity level. Your age, sex, race, and genetics also impact HDL levels.
Diet: Diets that are high fiber and low in added sugars and unhealthy fats promote higher HDL levels.
Weight. Being at a healthy weight promotes higher HDL levels.
Physical Activity. Exercising regularly can increase HDL cholesterol levels and lower LDL levels.
Age and Sex: Women tend to have higher HDL levels than men, though levels tend to decrease after menopause.
Genetics (heredity): Genetics play a role in cholesterol production, which is why family members commonly have similar cholesterol levels.
Race. Blacks/African Americans are more likely to have higher HDL levels; however, other risk factors, such as high blood pressure, obesity, or diabetes, may outweigh the health benefit of these higher levels .
Alcohol: Some evidence suggests moderate alcohol consumption may increase HDL levels . For healthy adults, that’s no more than one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and two drinks a day for men aged 65 and younger .
How to maintain optimal HDL levels
An HDL level of 70 mg/dL is good for your overall health. If your LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels are in the normal range, having an HDL level of 70 mg/dL also puts you at lower risk for developing heart disease in the future.
Because “bad” cholesterol levels tend to increase with age, it’s best to put heart-healthy habits into place now. Here are some things you can do to help keep your “good” HDL cholesterol levels in the optimal range:
Get 30-60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week.
Fill up on fiber, particularly from beans and whole grains. Gradually increase your fiber intake to 30-40 g/day if you’re currently consuming less.
Avoid trans fats (like hydrogenated oils) and limit your saturated fat intake to < 10% of total calories.
Eat small, fatty fish, including salmon, sardines, and mackerel, at least twice a week.
Lose excess weight if you are overweight or obese.
Quit smoking if you currently smoke.
Manage stress and get adequate sleep as stress promotes inflammation that can lower HDL levels.