Do you have high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol? Find out which foods help you boost levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol?
LDL cholesterol should be 3mmol/L or less for healthy adults as per the official NHS advice, but the ratio of LDL to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol – the good stuff that helps keep the arteries clear – is just as important. A ratio higher than four increases the risk of heart disease.
You can reduce levels of LDL cholesterol in your body by stopping smoking, exercising regularly and adopting a healthy, balanced diet, which is low in saturated fat and packed with LDL cholesterol-lowering staples.
But it’s also a good idea to stock up on foods that increase good cholesterol to help regulate your LDL/HDL ratio. Here are 5 of the best HDL cholesterol-boosters to add to your shopping trolley.
Walnuts are rich in monounsaturates and polyunsaturates, plus they contain decent levels of omega-3 fatty acids, so it comes as no surprise that a study published last year found that participants who ate a handful of walnuts a day had significantly lower LDL readings and higher levels of HDL cholesterol.
Walnut aren’t the only nuts that boast HDL cholesterol-boosting powers. Like other tree nuts, almonds are jam-packed with heart-healthy fats that help raise HDL levels in the body. In fact, a trial conducted in 2015 reported that participants who ate a small portion of unsalted almonds every day had increased the levels of HDL cholesterol in their body by 14% after just six weeks.
3. Olive oil
Replacing artery-clogging saturated fats in your diet like butter and lard with healthier unsaturated fats is the way forward. Polyunsaturates, which include sunflower oil, help increase HDL cholesterol but monounsaturated fats such as olive oil are best – a recent study found that extra-virgin olive oil doesn’t just increase HDL levels, it improves HDL function, too.
Avocados are proven to both lower LDL cholesterol and raise levels of the good stuff. The trendy salad favourite is packed with soluble fibre and plant sterols, which reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol in the body, in addition to monounsaturated fat, which as we know, boosts HDL cholesterol as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
5. Oily Fish
Fish such as salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel and herring contain an active ingredient called omega-3 fatty acids which has been proven to boost levels of good cholesterol.