An estimated 54 million Americans could benefit from higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol - the cleanup crew of the bloodstream.

Every 1-point rise in HDL protects the heart at least as much as a 1-point drop in LDL.

Eash reduces your risk of a fatal heart attack by 2%

Women should take steps to push their HDL levels above 50mg/dl; men, above 40 mg/dl.

The following is a good way to get your numbers up:

Quit smoking to raise your HDL 4 points

Lose weight and raise 1 point for every 6.6 pounds

Drink 1 alcoholic beverage a day and raise 4 points BUT don’t drink forheart health if you have triglycerides or are at risk of alcoholism

Snack on 1-ounce of walnuts a day to raise your HDL 2 to 3 points

Walk briskly 3 times per week to raise 1 to 4 points

Take and HDL-raising drug

If you don’t see an increase after 6 months, you may want to ask your doctor about an HDL-raising medication.