What types of foods raise HDL cholesterol levels?


Quick Answer

Foods that contain polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, as well as those that contain omega-3 fatty acids, are the best bet to raise one's HDL, or good, cholesterol levels. Whole grains with soluble fiber also increase one's HDL levels, as stated by Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

Olive, peanut and canola oils all contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Cooking foods in these oils is likely to increase HDL levels, particularly if one chooses lean, healthy proteins and vegetables to cook. Fatty beef and pork, which contains saturated fats, is likely to elevate one's LDL, or bad, cholesterol levels and damage blood vessels over time, notes Mayo Clinic.

Omega-3 fatty acids are present in Brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts and other nuts, as well as in fatty fish, such as salmon and albacore tuna. Omega-3 fatty acids are also available in fish oil supplements, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil. This oil contributes to elevating HDL levels, according to Mayo Clinic.

The soluble fiber present in oatmeal, oat bran and whole-wheat products soaks up much of the LDL cholesterol in the digestive tract, elevating the proportion of the HDL cholesterol present in the total count. HDL cholesterol actually gathers LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream, and takes it to the liver for processing and elimination, so boosting HDL counts is a positive step for health, states Mayo Clinic.

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