No doubt that everyone hopes to have normal levels of cholesterol to enjoy better health. High-density lipoprotein (HDL -the good kind of cholesterol) carries excess cholesterol to your liver so it doesn’t build up in your bloodstream. But when low-density lipoprotein (LDL – the bad kind of cholesterol) cholesterol moves cholesterol throughout your body, it can build up in the walls of the arteries, making them hard and narrow. If you have too little HDL cholesterol and too much LDL, you may be diagnosed with high cholesterol, a condition that can lead to atherosclerosis, angina, heart attack, and stroke. Luckily, there are certain foods that have been shown to raise your good cholesterol. Here are some HDL-friendly foods you need to start incorporating them into your diet.
1. Olive Oil: The type of heart-healthy fat found in olives and olive oil can increase your HDL and lower the inflammatory impact of LDL cholesterol on your body. In a study published in July 2015 in The Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that including olive oil in the diet decreased LDL concentrations in healthy young men. Use extra-virgin oil when cooking at low temperatures, as it breaks down at high temperatures and also use it in salad dressings, sauces, and to flavor foods once they’re cooked.
2. Beans and Legumes: Like whole grains, beans and legumes are a great source of soluble fiber. Reach for black beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, navy beans, lentils, and others. Canned beans contain about half as much folate as cooked dry beans. Folate is an important B-vitamin that’s healthy for your heart. From a recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, LDL “bad” cholesterol levels fell almost twice as far in those volunteers on a low-fat diet who added beans and lentils (along with more whole grains and vegetables) to the menu.
3. Fatty Fish: Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, can lower your LDL and increase your HDL. Fatty fish include salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, sardines, and rainbow trout.
4. Avocado:. Avocados are high in folate, a healthy monounsaturated fat. This type of fat boosts HDL, lowers LDL, and reduces your risk for stroke, heart attack, and heart disease. They’re also filled with fiber, which naturally helps keep cholesterol in check.
5. Almonds: Substances in almond skins help prevent LDL “bad” cholesterol from being oxidized, a process that can otherwise damage the lining of blood vessels and increase cardiovascular risk.