8 Good Cholesterol Foods to Maintain HDL and LDL Levels

Consuming Good Cholesterol Foods is an important part of everyday’s life. Cholesterol is a vital substance that your body prepares in the liver. This is a fatty substance present in the blood. It is responsible of carrying out several types of functions in the body. As high levels of cholesterol can put your health at a risk, it is very important to manage the situation in case it occurs. 

Cholesterol is mainly divided into two categories, the HDL (high-density lipoprotein), and LDL (low-density lipoprotein). Both these types are lipoproteins. They are synthesized from protein and fat. LDL is also called bad cholesterol as it causes deposition of plaque in the arteries that in turn blocks them. This causes the development of heart disease in a person. In this article, we will tell you the best foods to increase good cholesterol levels in the blood.

8 Well-Known Good Cholesterol Foods

good cholesterol foods
Good Cholesterol Foods

Extra-virgin Olive oil

Extra-virgin Olive oil is considered to be the healthiest oil. It has high amounts of antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds in it that reduce low-density cholesterol in the body. The use of this oil is suggested when you cook at low-temperature. At high-temperature, this oil starts to breaks down and may not be appropriate for use.

Use olive oils in preparation of sauces, salad dressings, and to impart flavor to your foods. Alternatively, you can also sprinkle finely- chopped olives on your dishes to get its benefits. It is important to note that olive oil is dense in calories, so you should include it in moderate amounts. 

Whole grains

Whole grains are one of the rich sources of a soluble form of dietary fiber. It comprises of bran, brown rice, oats, and cereals, that can reduce low density and total cholesterol in the body. It also boosts high-density cholesterol in the body. Include a combination of these good cholesterol foods and grains in your diet twice a day to naturally manage cholesterol levels in the body. 

Seeds

Seeds are among healthy plant-based good cholesterol foods that has high dietary fiber, antioxidants, folate and healthy monounsaturated fat. Both of these properties make it healthy for your heart. Some of the best sources of seeds that you should include in your diet are flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, and melon seeds. 

The addition of these seeds in your diet reduces LDL levels and blood pressure. The high concentration of healthy fat, and fiber manage blood cholesterol naturally and lowers the risk for stroke, and heart ailments. These seeds are best enjoyed in the form of smoothies, shakes, salads dressings, breakfast cereal, and more. Eat them in moderation as the high fiber content can cause digestive disorders.

Fruits, and vegetables

When it comes to high-fiber foods, we can’t overlook the potential of fruits, and vegetables. Both these foods are completely natural and low in calories. They are loaded with high amounts of soluble fiber that enhances good cholesterol levels and reduce the low-density cholesterol in the body. 

Include apples, avocado, pears, and oranges in your diet. In the same way, Good Cholesterol Foods and vegetables such as carrots, radish, broccoli, kale, beets, celery, sweet potato, turnips are beneficial to improve healthy cholesterol levels in the body.   

Beans 

Beans come in various types that include kidney beans, black-eyed peas, black beans, lentils, and more. All these types of beans contain massive amounts of soluble fiber in them. In addition to it, these beans also contain beneficial B vitamin especially Vitamin B3 (or folate) that increases HDL cholesterol in the body and promotes a healthy heart.

Fatty fish

Non-vegetarian folks can consider consuming this animal food to reduce bad cholesterol. Fatty fishes such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna, and trout are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids. Eating one serving of fatty fish every day improves HDL levels, and can keep your cholesterol levels under check.   

Nuts

If you are suffering from high bad cholesterol levels that start eating nuts today. This superfood is another inclusion in your diet that can help bring down risky cholesterol levels in the body. Some of the best nuts that you should include are Brazilian nuts, pecan nuts, cashews, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts that are packed with heart-friendly fats. 

These edible dried forms of fruits contain a substance named plant sterols that hinders the rate of absorption of cholesterol in the body. Before you incorporate nuts into your diet, you should know that they are high in calories. 

To get the desired benefits from nuts you should eat them in moderation otherwise it can cause an imbalance in cholesterol levels in the body. Include it with a low-calorie diet. It is best to enjoy nuts as the first meal of the day as the high-calorie content in them gets utilized during the day. 

Soy

Soy-based foods are touted to be highly nutritious. Soy is usually tops the list as widely used Vegetarian Good Cholesterol Foods.It is also seen as an alternative to unhealthy meat that increases LDL in the body. When people consume less amount of meat, they naturally lower LDL levels in the body. Soy has zero cholesterol in it and has the ability to reduce LDL levels. It has been observed that people who consumed 25 grams of soy on a daily basis reduced LDL levels by three to four percent naturally. (3)

Importance of Cholesterol lowering foods to maintain HDL and LDL

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is beneficial for your body in numerous ways. It improves the health of the cardiovascular system by:

  • removing the deposition of fatty acids or plaque in the arteries. In this way, it prevents the risks of coronary heart ailment, heart attack and stroke. 
  • It transports the LDL to the liver to metabolize it and eliminate it from the body.

As per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the normal level of HDL in the body is 60 milligrams/deciliter (mg/dL). People who have higher than this level are considered to be healthy and protected, while those who have less than 40 milligrams/deciliter (mg/dL) are on a verge of developing heart disease. An individual should aim to reach at least between 40 and 60 mg/dL.

The American Heart Association advises people to get a cholesterol test once a year after the age of twenty years. The sooner you detect high LDL levels, the sooner you can prevent yourself from becoming obese, and susceptible to heart ailments. (1)

Good Cholesterol Foods and Human Body

Cholesterol helps to perform three vital functions in the body:

  • secretion of sex hormones
  • develop human tissues
  • production of bile juices in the liver

A majority of cholesterol in the body is produced naturally by the liver. It is not obtained from cholesterol present in the foods that we eat. The trans-fat and saturated fat in the food causes the liver to synthesize cholesterol. 

How Does Food Affect Cholesterol?

Foods that we eat are one of the sources to obtain cholesterol. This type of cholesterol is termed as dietary cholesterol. It is produced only from animal-based foods. It is not found in plant-based foods. Full-fat dairy products and red meat are the major sources for cholesterol. These foods contain high amounts of unhealthy trans-fats, and saturated foods and are devoid of the much-needed dietary fiber.

This implies that people who have high LDL and total cholesterol levels should reduce their consumption of animal products. They should replace them with plant-based source. Vegan diet, that is based primarily on plant-based sources and eliminates animal-based foods is a perfect way to manage high cholesterol levels in the body.

For most individuals, consuming foods that have high amounts of dietary cholesterol makes only a little impact on their overall blood cholesterol. When the dietary consumption of Good cholesterol foods reduces, your body balances it by producing more amount of cholesterol and vice versa. (2)

How To Lower Cholesterol With Diet?

In order to reduce high cholesterol levels, you should make the right selections of foods that can reduce your LDL levels, increase HDL levels and thereby raise your HDL to LDL ratio. So, here is a complete list of HDL-friendly foods that helps to maintain high HDL to LDL ratio and promote overall health. Begin incorporating these healthy foods into your well-balanced diet to manage your cholesterol levels easily.

List of foods with high saturated fats

  1. fatty cuts of meat
  2. red meat
  3. full-fat dairy items such as cream, yogurt, cheese and milk
  4. deep-fried foods
  5. fast foods, and takeaway meals
  6. processed foods
  7. ready to eat meals
  8. coconut oil
  9. sausages
  10. butter

List of foods with high trans fats:

  1. fried foods
  2. baked goods that include cakes, pastries, puddings, and biscuits
  3. butter
  4. Is Chicken High In Cholesterol?

FAQs On Cholesterol

What is HDL?

HDL is an abbreviation of high-density lipoprotein. It is one of the forms in which cholesterol is found in the body. HDL is considered to be good cholesterol in the body. It works by removing extra cholesterol levels in the body. It prevents the accumulation of plaque in the arteries and clears any form of clogging in them. In this way, HDL ensures a smooth flow of blood to the heart via the arteries. 

This cholesterol reverses the damages done by low density or bad cholesterol and helps in its elimination from the body. In this way, this good cholesterol keeps your heart healthy and lowers the possibilities of heart ailments, and heart attacks. 

Do eggs have good cholesterol?

Eggs are an inexpensive source of high-quality protein and various other nutrients. Looking at their cholesterol levels, eggs are found to be on a higher side. One large egg has around 1.5 grams of saturated fat, six grams of protein and almost 75 calories. Though it is an unhealthy form of fat, eating one egg daily is found to be completely safe. There are no pieces of evidence reported to date where eating one egg a day has resulted in high levels of strokes, cardiovascular diseases and heart attack. 

What you eat with it determines its impact on health. People mostly eat it with foods that are high in saturated fats such as muffins, white toast, sausage, butter, bacon, cheese, or scones. These foods are known to raise cholesterol levels in the blood and put you at a high risk of diseases. The best way to eat eggs is to combine it with fresh herbs, whole-grain toast, green chilies, vegetables, spices, or salsa. This way it tastes delicious and keeps your body healthy too.

What are bad cholesterol foods?

Bad cholesterol foods are the ones that have unhealthy fats such as trans-fats, and saturated fats. You should replace them with good cholesterol foods that have healthy monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats.

Consuming large amounts of white poultry like chicken causes high bad cholesterol levels in the blood. One small-sized, grilled form of skinless chicken breast provides 100 mg of cholesterol. It adds around 5 mg/dL of cholesterol to your existing levels.  

The Bottom Line

Food is an amazing way to deliver healthy nutrients to the body. When it comes to managing cholesterol levels, there are specific supplements, and foods that can boost your HDL and lower LDL figures naturally. Learning about such foods and including them in your diet will keep your cholesterol levels within permissible limits. 

However, if your cholesterol levels are extremely high, then dietary changes won’t be enough. You need to take medications too to bring them to the right levels quickly. Talking to your health care provider will be beneficial in that case. He will suggest you the right ways to manage blood cholesterol. 

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