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10 Foods to Increase Good Cholesterol Levels Naturally

Published : May 28, 2024 5 mins read

Did you know that nearly 95 million adults have total cholesterol levels above what's considered healthy? While we often hear about "bad" cholesterol (LDL), the "good" kind (HDL) plays a vital role! HDL helps remove excess cholesterol from the body, protecting your heart. (1)

10 Foods to Increase Good Cholesterol Levels Naturally
Ready to naturally boost your HDL levels? Here's our list of the top 10 foods that can make a difference in your cholesterol profile. We'll delve into delicious ways to incorporate these powerhouses into your diet and maximize their benefits for your heart health.

10 Foods to Boost Your HDL (Good) Cholesterol

A low HDL cholesterol level means it's not working hard enough to protect your heart. What is HDL cholesterol, anyway? It's the "good" kind, responsible for clearing away the harmful LDL cholesterol. Good news – simple diet changes can naturally raise those HDL cholesterol levels! Here's how to increase good cholesterol with delicious everyday foods:

  • Fatty Fish: Salmon, tuna, you name it – those omega-3 fatty acids are heart-healthy superstars. They help lower triglycerides and boost HDL cholesterol (that's the good kind, remember!). Aim for two servings weekly to give your heart the healthy fats it craves. (2)
  • A Handful of Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, pecans, and more – they're not just a satisfying snack, but an HDL cholesterol powerhouse! The healthy monounsaturated fats work hard to boost your "good" cholesterol, helping keep your heart healthy. Plus, hdl cholesterol low means nuts offer an extra advantage: plant sterols naturally help block the absorption of bad cholesterol. Fiber and antioxidants sweeten the deal, making them the perfect heart-healthy nibble. (3)
  • Avocado: These creamy gems deliver healthy fats, fiber, and a whole lot of flavor. Boost your HDL and satisfy your taste buds with the power of avocados. But what is HDL cholesterol, anyway? It's the "good" kind, working to clear out harmful cholesterol from your bloodstream. Avocados give your HDL levels the support they need, making them a delicious and heart-healthy addition to your diet. (4)
  • Olive Oil: This Mediterranean staple isn't just tasty – those healthy monounsaturated fats work wonders for your cholesterol profile. Drizzle it on salads, sauté your veggies in it, or even use it for baking – its versatility makes it easy to incorporate. By replacing unhealthy fats with olive oil, you can help reduce "bad" LDL cholesterol and simultaneously give those HDL cholesterol levels a boost. It's a heart-healthy swap your tastebuds will thank you for! (5)
  • Whole Grains: Ditch the refined white bread and reach for brown rice, a hearty bowl of oats, or other whole grains. These foods pack a powerful punch of soluble fiber, which helps reduce harmful LDL cholesterol and gives your body the tools to raise those HDL levels. Want to know how to increase good cholesterol? Make whole grains a regular part of your meals – it's simple, delicious, and your heart will love you for it! (6)
  • Legumes: The Low-Cholesterol Powerhouse: Think beans, lentils, chickpeas; they're affordable, versatile, and absolute stars when it comes to HDL cholesterol foods. Packed with protein and heart-healthy fiber, they help lower harmful LDL cholesterol and give your good HDL a helping hand. Swap out meat with beans or lentils a few times a week and reap the heart-protective benefits.
  • Berry Boost: Those vibrant colors mean antioxidants! Studies link them to better HDL levels, so pile on the blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and more. Not only do they naturally sweeten up your breakfast or make a satisfying snack, but they also offer a range of antioxidants, including flavonoids. These antioxidants work to protect your "good" HDL cholesterol, helping it do its job of keeping your heart healthy.
  • Dark Chocolate Delight: Yes, a few squares of high-cocoa chocolate count! The key is moderation – those antioxidants called flavonoids are powerful, working to improve your cholesterol profile. Aim for dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content for maximum benefits. Enjoy this sweet treat guilt-free, as it can help reduce bad LDL cholesterol, raise your good HDL, and provide a boost of heart-protective antioxidants.
  • Go Green with Tea: Swap those sugary drinks for a refreshing cup of green tea. It's packed with powerful antioxidants called catechins, linked to improved heart health. Studies show green tea can give your HDL cholesterol a nudge, helping it work more efficiently to clear out harmful "bad" cholesterol. Make this simple switch for a healthier beverage that benefits not only your cholesterol levels but your overall well-being.
  • Spinach & Friends: Don't underestimate the power of leafy greens! They're more than just a colorful addition to your plate. These nutritional powerhouses pack a vitamin and antioxidant punch that benefits your cholesterol profile in multiple ways. Leafy greens like spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and collard greens are naturally low in calories and fat, making them a waistline-friendly choice. But more importantly, they're loaded with fiber, which helps reduce LDL cholesterol, and plant sterols, which can block the absorption of bad cholesterol. Plus, leafy greens are a great source of antioxidants like lutein, which some studies suggest may help protect your HDL cholesterol, keeping it functional and fighting for your heart health. So, fill up on your favorite greens – your taste buds and your heart will thank you!

Ready to take charge of your cholesterol? Start small! Pick a couple of foods from this list to try this week. You'll be surprised how quickly those healthy habits add up. Remember, even small changes to your diet can have a big impact on your HDL levels and overall heart health.


1. What foods raise good cholesterol?
Foods like fatty fish, nuts, olive oil, avocado, beans, and whole grains can help raise your HDL cholesterol levels (the "good" cholesterol).

2. What are the 3 best foods for lowering cholesterol?
Focus on foods rich in soluble fiber (oats, beans, lentils), omega-3 fatty acids (fish, flaxseed), and healthy fats (avocado, nuts) to lower bad cholesterol and boost good HDL cholesterol.

3. What fruit is good for cholesterol?
Berries, avocados, and citrus fruits are great for cholesterol. They're packed with fiber and antioxidants that help lower bad cholesterol and boost good HDL cholesterol.

4. How do I raise my HDL?
To raise your HDL, focus on these foods to increase HDL cholesterol:
Soluble fiber: Oats, beans, lentils, apples, pears.
Healthy fats: Olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds.
Omega-3 rich fish: Salmon, tuna, mackerel (eat at least twice a week).
Remember, limit saturated and trans fats, processed foods, and sugary drinks.

5. What drink is good cholesterol?
There's no specific drink that directly increases your HDL cholesterol (which is the good cholesterol). However, some drinks can contribute to a healthier overall cholesterol profile:
Green tea: Contains antioxidants that may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and boost HDL slightly.
Red wine (in moderation): Some studies suggest that moderate consumption may be linked to slightly higher HDL levels.
Remember, a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle are crucial for managing cholesterol levels. Focus on the foods mentioned earlier for the best results. 

Dr. Vaishali Goyal
Founder Of Nutriment by Vaishali

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