American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Foods high in HDL are recommended to ensure that bad cholesterol doesn’t overpower the system. New research shows more people can benefit from taking statins than previously believed, including people over 75 years old. You can also whip up this spicy Southwestern black bean chili during the week for an easy family-friendly dinner. What is Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride and Is It Safe? Accessed May 22, 2018. It's not clear whether food with plant sterols or stanols reduces your risk of heart attack or stroke — although experts assume that foods that reduce cholesterol do reduce the risk. Decreasing your consumption of saturated fats to less than 7 percent of your total daily calorie intake can reduce your LDL cholesterol by 8 to 10 percent. Here are some foods to improve your cholesterol and protect your heart. It’s also been shown to lower your risk of heart disease. 9th ed. Niacin to boost your HDL, 'good,' cholesterol, Nuts and your heart: Eating nuts for heart health. Just be sure to reach for low-calorie dippers, like carrots, radishes, and tomatoes, instead of high-calorie, high-salt tortilla chips. If you add fruit, such as a banana or berries, you'll get even more fiber. Research suggests that adding an avocado a day to a heart-healthy diet can help improve LDL cholesterol levels in people who are overweight or obese. It's not clear whether food with plant sterols or stanols reduces your risk of heart attack or stroke — although experts assume that foods that reduce cholesterol do reduce the risk. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Fekete AA, et al. Continued Beans. Trans fats raise overall cholesterol levels. Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements. Mayo Clinic offers appointments in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and at Mayo Clinic Health System locations. Try using olive oil in place of other fats in your diet. FREE book offer – Mayo Clinic Health Letter, Cholesterol Top foods to improve your numbers, Advertising and sponsorship opportunities. The highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids are in: Foods such as walnuts, flaxseed and canola oil also have small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. What Is Vitamin F? Sugar and Cholesterol: Is There a Connection? Pomegranate juice: Can it lower cholesterol? Fatty fish has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce your triglycerides — a type of fat found in blood — as well as reduce your blood pressure and risk of developing blood clots. New England Journal of Medicine. Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. People tend to be most familiar with avocados in guacamole, which usually is eaten with high-fat corn chips. Lipid and metabolic disorders. So, before you begin loading up on these foods and supplements to boost your HDL and lower your LDL numbers, talk with your healthcare provider. Your HDL is considered low if it’s below 40 mg/dL. Any use of this site constitutes your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy linked below. © 2005-2020 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company. 11 Foods to Increase Your HDL Medically reviewed by Katherine Marengo LDN, R.D. Trans fats, sometimes listed on food labels as "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil," are often used in margarines and store-bought cookies, crackers and cakes. Fruits with a lot of fiber, such as prunes, apples, and pears, can lower your LDL level, and raise your HDL level. When you think of cholesterol, you probably think of “bad” or high cholesterol. Diet can play an important role in lowering your cholesterol. We have compiled a list of good cholesterol foods to consider in order to boost HDL levels naturally, each providing a delicious option to keeping cholesterol ratios in check. Kumar P, et al. Soy-based products aren’t just for vegetarians. You can also use olive oil as a substitute for butter when basting meat or as a dip for bread. They contain large amounts of unsaturated fats, and unsaturated fats tend to lower total cholesterol levels. Extra-firm tofu grills beautifully, and this tofu vegetable kebab recipe will please even your meat-loving friends. The power of a plant-based diet for heart health. The food world’s new favorite fruit is also one of the healthiest. Learn more. High-density lipoprotein or HDL fights the bad cholesterol keeping your heart healthy. Fasting diet: Can it improve my heart health? Use extra-virgin olive oil instead of other oils and fats when cooking at low temperatures, since extra-virgin olive oil breaks down at high temperatures. An analysis of 35 studies linked soy foods to reduced “bad” LDL and total cholesterol, as well as increased “good” HDL cholesterol . Peanut Butter: Is It a Pro or Con When It Comes to Cholesterol? Cholesterol is widely classified into good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Emerging research is finding that your gut flora or microbiome influences your cholesterol levels and heart disease risk. Reducing your weight can help raise your HDL and lower your LDL cholesterol levels. A lipid disorder means you have high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, or both. A bagel with cream cheese for breakfast, a piece of fried chicken for lunch, a steak sautéed in butter for dinner, and a bowl of ice cream at night aren’t ideal for your cholesterol. A few simple tweaks to your diet — along with exercise and other heart-healthy habits — might help you lower your cholesterol. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Mayo Clinic does not endorse any of the third party products and services advertised. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. Many vegetarians use flax seed as a source of omega-3 fatty acids because they’re one of the better plant-based sources of this heart-healthy fat. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the bad kind of cholesterol and the kind you want to keep in check. Omega-3-rich foods: Most of us aren’t getting enough of this good fatty acid in our diets. Before you begin dramatically changing your diet or taking any supplements, you should talk with your healthcare provider. Our general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety of health topics. Replacing saturated fats, such as those found in meats, with MUFAs are part of what makes the Mediterranean diet heart healthy.