good cholesterol

We are all aware that there are two types of cholesterol: the good and the bad. Specific foods affect their levels in the blood. Which foods to consume in order to enhance the good cholesterol in the blood? And which foods can lower the bad one?

Cholesterol and its types

Cholesterol is a type of fat that the liver synthesizes. And liver produces two types of them: the good and the bad. The good is the HDL type while the bad is the LDL type. The LDL elevation is responsible for diseases such as atherosclerosis, heart attack, strokes, etc. Whereas the good cholesterol removes the bad one from the body. The former does not produce chronic diseases.

good cholesterol
Olive oil (Source: Everyday health)

Diet, lifestyle, exercises all affect the levels of these two fat types. Regular exercise increases good and lessens bad fats. Smoking and alcohol also raise the bad cholesterol. And foods high in saturated fats and trans fats have a similar action. But fortunately, nature has provided us with certain foods that could boost HDL in the blood.

Foods to increase good cholesterol

Olive oil

It contains heart-friendly monounsaturated fatty acids. This increases the level of HDL in blood. And mops up the bad fats from the blood.


This has soluble fiber including beta glucan that helps lower bad LDL fats. Just 3 grams of beta glucan is needed per day. This amount one can get from 1.5 cups of oatmeal. This protects the heart.

Legumes and beans

Both are rich in soluble fiber. A meta analysis of 26 studies revealed that half a cup of these protein rich foods can lower LDL by 6.6 mg/dl. This improves the LDL to HDL cholesterol ratio in the blood that protects the heart.

good cholesterol
Berries (Source: Practical self reliance)


A review of 46 studies showed that soy protein can lessen bad fats by 3 to 4% with just 25 grams of it.


Yes, these medicinal fruits can lower LDL and improve LDL to HDL ratio. They are rich in pectin and polyphenols and both act to improve the ratio.


This fruit has both fiber and monounsaturated fatty acids that controls the bad cholesterol in blood. People having one avocado a day have lower levels of LDL cholesterol, studies reveal.


These have pectin and antioxidant compounds. Both lower the blood bad cholesterol.


These tiny fruits are loaded with anthocyanins, phenolic acids, stilbenes, tannins, carotenoids and such antioxidants. They healthify blood and reduce inflammation.

Fatty fish

Oily fish like tuna, mackerel, salmon, and herring are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. They might not directly increase HDL but they lower the triglycerides (the unhealthy fats). They lower blood pressure and protect the heart too.


These nuts are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and omega 3 fatty acids. 2 to 3 handfuls a day lowers LDL cholesterol by 10 points, a review of 25 studies stated.


These nuts contain high levels of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and phytosterols. Both help to lower bad cholesterol in blood.


good cholesterol
Green tea (Source: Pinterest)

It has lots of soluble fiber and beta glucan. These lower blood cholesterol.

Cocoa and dark chocolate for good cholesterol

These prevent LDL cholesterol oxidation and thus protect the heart. Add cocoa powder to oatmeal or yoghurt. Sprinkle over ice creams or have a dark chocolate. All forms are healthy.

Green leafy vegetables

These have substances that bind to bile acids and throw them out of the body. Moreover, their lutein content prevents cholesterol from sticking to arterial walls.

Read here: What is a Bubble tea? Is it carcinogenic?

Green tea

It has the antioxidants called catechins that decreases blood cholesterol levels. Studies revealed that people sipping five cups of green tea per day had 26% less chance of death due to stroke or heart attack.