As we grow older, cholesterol is one of those things that we must all watch, but while LDL can be harmful and life threatening, HDL is the ‘good cholesterol’ that we all want. In this article, we give you a short list of foods that you can eat to boost your HDL levels.
Density Lipoprotein is the good kind of cholesterol for your body, so it’s the kind of cholesterol that you want more of. Low Density Lipoprotein, also called LDL, blocks up the arteries and increases your risk of stroke and heart attacks, so it is the kind of cholesterol you want less of in your body. The American Heart Association recommends getting cholesterol blood test by the age of 20, and the ideal HDL level is 60 milligrams/decilitre.
Here are a few foods that increase your HDL levels.
1. Olive oil
It’s not for nothing that almost every respectable chef on television is armed with a large bottle of olive oil. For all cooking that you do at low temperatures, replace all your current oils with extra-virgin olive oil, because the type of heart-healthy fat found in olives increase your HDL and lower the inflammatory impact of LDL on your body.
2. Beans and legumes
Beans and legumes are great sources of soluble fibre. Black beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, navy beans, lentils and anything else that you can catch hold of are good for your heart, so try and incorporate these into your daily eating habits as much as you can. Beans and legumes are also great in side dishes. While canned beans can be eaten now and then try not to make a habit of it.
3. Whole grains
Whole grains like bran, cereals, brown or wild rice may give your HDL levels a boost because they contain fibre. Try and have at least two servings of whole grains per day. This could be as simple as a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, a slice or two of brown bread for lunch and a side of rice for dinner.
Brazil nuts, almonds, pistachios, peanuts and cashew contain a lot of heart healthy fats and are also high in fibre and plant sterols, which block the absorption of cholesterol in your body. Keep in mind that nuts are high calorific in nature, so if you’re watching the number of calories you intake, keep a measuring cup handy so that you don’t consume more than you intend to.
Known as a superfood for its many healing properties, an avocado a day will most likely fulfil all your HDL needs. Add slices of avocado to salads, soups and sandwiches. Avocados are rich in folate, a healthy monounsaturated fat that boosts HDL, lowers LDL, and reduces your risk of heart attack, stroke and heart disease.