Surprising Foods to Boost Your Good Cholesterol (HDL)

Good Cholesterol Foods to Eat

When it comes to managing your cholesterol levels, it’s important to focus not only on avoiding foods high in bad cholesterol but also on incorporating foods high in good cholesterol. Good cholesterol, also known as HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, plays a crucial role in maintaining heart health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. It’s not only important to know which good cholesterol foods to eat, rather you should start incorporating cholesterol-rich foods into your diet.

What is Good Cholesterol?

HDL cholesterol is often referred to as “good” cholesterol because it helps remove bad cholesterol, known as LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, from arteries and transports it to the liver for processing and elimination. This cleaning process helps prevent plaque buildup on artery walls, which can significantly narrow the passageway and increase the risk of heart disease. Essentially, HDL helps keep your arteries clear and your heart happy.

Good Cholesterol Foods to Eat

Here are some good cholesterol foods to eat and include in your daily diet:

1. Fatty Fish

Consume fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines. These fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA. These fats help to lower LDL and increase HDL cholesterol levels creating a win-win situation for your heart.

2. Avocados

Avocados, are the creamy fruit that are heart-healthy superstars. These are packed with monounsaturated fats which promote HDL. Avocados are also a good source of potassium, which helps in regulating blood pressure.

3. Olive Oil

Adding extra virgin olive oil to your diet is a treat and also has tonnes of heart-healthy benefits. This liquid gold is rich in monosaturated fats and antioxidants which help reduce inflammation and improve blood vessel health. Many studies suggest olive oil consumption contributes to higher HDL levels.

4. Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, Cashew, walnuts, flaxseeds, and, chia seeds are nutritional powerhouse. These nuts and seeds are loaded with fiber, protein, healthy fats, and sterols. Plant sterol has a similar structure to that of cholesterol, and when consumed, leads to lower LDL, and increasing HDL levels.

5. Soy Products

Try tofu, tempeh and edamame. These tasty soy foods are rich in plant-based protein. They might also give your heart some love by helping you lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol and maybe even improve your “good” HDL levels. These versatile ingredients can be added to your favorite stir-fries, and salads, or even used as a meat substitute in familiar dishes.

6. Vegetables

Fill your plate with a rainbow of veggies like broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, and carrots. This will not have a direct impact on HDL, however, vegetables are low in calories and fat, making them excellent additions to a heart-healthy diet.

7. Legumes

Beans like black beans, kidney beans, lentils, and chickpeas are great for your heart and weight. They are rich in plant-based protein and fiber, which keeps you feeling full longer. This can help you manage your weight and even improve your good cholesterol (HDL) levels. They also help reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and keep blood sugar levels under control.

8. Whole Grains

Replace sugary cereals and white bread with whole-grain options like bread, brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal. These whole grains are full of complex carbohydrates, the kind of energy source that keeps you going longer. They also help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and keep you feeling full longer, so you’re less likely to snack. The fiber in whole grains might also give your good cholesterol (HDL) a boost.

Foods you should avoid for Healthy Cholesterol

We talked about good cholesterol foods to eat, but it’s also important to watch out for some not-so-friendly ones:

  • Saturated and Trans Fats: Processed meats, fried foods, and baked goods are high in saturated and trans fats. These bad boys raise “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and can even lower good cholesterol (HDL).
  • Added Sugar: Too much sugar can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, and inflammation, all of which can harm heart health and potentially lower HDL. Avoid sugary drinks and processed foods and look for naturally sweet fruits instead.
  • Excessive Salt: Eating too much salt can increase your blood pressure, making your heart work harder. While it may not directly affect your HDL, it is still not good for your overall heart health. Opt for low-sodium options and go easy on processed foods that are often high in salt.


What is a good daily meal plan for boosting HDL?

Follow a diet plan that includes, fruits, veggies, whole grains, and food sources with healthy fats such as avocados and nuts. Avoid sugary drinks and processed foods.

Can I eat eggs if I want to increase my good cholesterol?

It’s generally safe to consume eggs in moderation as they are a good source of protein and most importantly research shows that eggs have minimal impact on cholesterol levels.

How can I increase my good cholesterol levels?

You can increase your good cholesterol levels by adopting a healthy lifestyle such as regular exercise, maintaining a good weight, quitting smoking, and enjoying a balanced diet.


By incorporating these good cholesterol foods to eat in your diet plan, along with a healthy lifestyle, you can empower your HDL to keep your heart healthy. By including foods like fatty fish, nuts and seeds, avocados, olive oil, legumes, and whole grains, you can increase your HDL cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease. If you are looking for special heart health tips, consult healthcare professionals and dietitians for personalized advice.

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