25 Foods Which Will Help Increase HDL

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HDL cholesterol or high-density Lipoprotein, is known as good cholesterol, and it is important to maintain a low total cholesterol level and increase HDL cholesterol, and for this, it is necessary to change the diet. The effect of food on HDL levels varies in each person, depending on factors such as genetics, weight, and exercise. These personal factors can counteract the benefits of these foods; however, it is important to follow a well-balanced diet.

HDL cholesterol attracts and binds to the fat particles that are deposited and accumulate over time in the walls of the arteries, thus helping to reduce the plaque tissue that contributes to atheroma and causes several diseases such as arteriosclerosis. This type of condition is known as a silent affliction because it has no symptoms until the arteries are significantly clogged, so you have to pay close attention to the risk factors. The recommended HDL levels for an adult are between 40 and 60 mg/dl. If they are above this average, they are healthier and do not cause health risks, reduce cardiovascular complications, promote healthy function of the heart and prevent the accumulation of fats.

Here are some general guidelines to follow if you want to increase your HDL blood levels naturally.

  1. Avoid processed foods especially those high in carbohydrates, as they can increase blood sugar and lower the levels of HDL cholesterol.
  2. Get more soluble fiber in your diet, which helps lower LDL cholesterol and increases HDL; you can find fiber in fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
  3. Avoid at all costs foods rich in Trans or hydrogenated fats and instead opt to include in your diet monounsaturated fats.
  4. Consume foods rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids. In addition to raising the levels of good cholesterol and exert a positive effect in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
  5. Populate your diet with foods that are rich sources of antioxidants as these nutrients reduce bad cholesterol and lengthen the active life of HDL.

Following these guidelines, here are 25 food items that will help you increase your HDL cholesterol levels:

  1. Quinoa
    Quinoa has the special feature that it can be consumed as cereal; therefore, it is also called pseudocereal. This is the reason why we find most of its calories in the form of complex carbohydrates. It also contains about 16 grams of protein per 100 grams, and it is a rich source of unsaturated fats. Due to its nutrient-rich composition, quinoa is, without a doubt, one of the healthiest foods available.
  2. Apples
    Apples contain a soluble fiber called pectin, which helps lower cholesterol in the blood, and prevents it from accumulating in the walls of blood vessels. They also contain large amounts of potassium, a mineral that helps control blood pressure and can reduce the risk of a heart attack.
  3. Artichokes
    This edible thistle contains cynarin, which is a substance that stimulates the secretion of bile, which favors the digestion of fats. It is rich in fiber, which helps reduce blood glucose while protecting against constipation and has phytosterols, which help control blood cholesterol levels.
  4. Broccoli
    It helps to eliminate bad cholesterol from the organism, and it is rich in soluble fibers, which prevent cardiovascular diseases and protect the heart. The presence of chromium, a mineral responsible for regulating blood glucose, also helps prevent high blood pressure.
  5. BrownRice
    Although not particularly known for it, brown rice contains a large number of antioxidants that are beneficial for health. It is one of the richest sources of fiber available for consumption. Brown rice is a strong source of manganese which strengthens the entire nervous system and increases levels of good HDL cholesterol.
  6. Avocado
    Avocados are very nutritious and contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin K, Vitamin C and, Potassium. It has been shown to increase HDL levels by as much as 11% when regularly consumed.
  7. Flaxseed
    When it comes to cardiac flaxseed is essential because it contains a substance similar to Prostaglandin that regulates blood pressure and prevents the formation of clots and the occurrence of heart attacks. The soluble fibers it contains prevent the accumulation of bad cholesterol in the blood. It also provides linolenic acid which is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
  8. Chia
    Chia seeds are replete with fiber yet are easy to digest. Chia is also a good source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and it has been proven that chia seeds contain more of this fatty acid than some fish.
  9. Eggplant
    It is rich in antioxidants, which are useful for stimulating the immune system and energy levels of the body, as well as keeping the heart healthy. Eggplant also contains compounds called terpenes, which help reduce cholesterol.
  10. Papaya
    Among its many nutrients, papayas are rich in the flavonoid cryptoxanthin, which acts as an antioxidant against free radicals, responsible for the premature aging of cells. These flavonoids protect from the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, so they help the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
  11. Chard
    This vegetable is very rich in soluble fiber, which helps maintain intestinal transit, prevents estrangement, and is very important in the prevention of cholesterol and certain diseases such as cancer. It is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, flavonoids and other antioxidants such as beta-carotene, α-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
  12. Mango
    The vitamin C and fiber present in mangoes have been shown to help lower LDL levels, which reduces the risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke at the same time. Also, mango contains both potassium and magnesium, which are related to the regulation of blood pressure, keeping it within healthy limits.
  13. Turnip
    It provides us with very good amounts of vitamin C and some B vitamins, as well as minerals such as potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, iodine and selenium. Another very important component of the turnip is its contribution in glucosinolates, compounds with antitumor activity.
  14. Spinach
    This green leafy vegetable is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, folic acid, manganese, iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B2, potassium and vitamin B6. Spinach is a very good source of protein, phosphorus, vitamin E, zinc, dietary fiber, and copper. Also, it is a good source of selenium, niacin and omega three fatty acids.
  15. Peaches
    They contain vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 C, folic acid and very important minerals such as potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc, sulfur and chlorine. Also, they have a large number of antioxidants, flavonoids, and fiber.
  16. Pineapple
    Pineapple is a rich source of antioxidants such as vitamin C, iodine, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium which, in addition to reinforcing the defenses, also have a positive action on the thyroid and nerve cells.
  17. Medlar
    Also known as chinese plum, the medlar is rich in pectin which is a soluble fiber that reduces blood LDL cholesterol levels, as it reduces its reabsorption by the body and eliminates it through excretions.
  18. Carrots
    Habitual consumption of carrots will keep a healthy heart as it keeps the arteries free from the appearance of plaques that prevent proper blood flow. It also contains a large number of antioxidants.
  19. Cabbage
    Rich in fiber as well as being a strong source of potassium and calcium which promote cardiac health.
  20. Oranges
    The orange contains a compound called hesperidin that has been proven to be useful in lowering cholesterol. Its content is more abundant in the skin than in the pulp. Hesperidin, in conjunction with magnesium, helps lower high blood pressure.
  21. Sardines
    Sardines are especially rich in omega three unsaturated fatty acids which are useful to reduce cholesterol levels and high triglycerides.
  22. Lentils
    They are rich in essential minerals such as magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, selenium, and calcium. They provide us with vitamins A, B1, B6 and C, which have an antioxidant effects.
  23. OliveOil
    The fatty acids present in virgin olive oil, especially oleic acid, contribute to reducing the levels of LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol, increasing arterial vasodilation, improving blood circulation and decreasing blood pressure.
  24. Onions
    Onions provide multiple minerals and trace elements such as potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, sodium, and sulfur. Onions are a strong source of essential amino acids and fiber.
  25. Eggs
    Although eggs were long thought to be detrimental for cardiac health, this food helps to increase HDL cholesterol, as long as two units are not exceeded per week, and whites are given preference since the majority of the cholesterol is in the yolk.

References:

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  2. Castelli, William P., et al. "HDL cholesterol and other lipids in coronary heart disease. The cooperative lipoprotein phenotyping study." Circulation 55.5 (1977): 767-772.
     
  3. BIP Study Group. "Secondary prevention by raising HDL cholesterol and reducing triglycerides in patients with coronary artery disease." Circulation 102.1 (2000): 21-27.
     
  4. Melnikova, Irena. "Raising HDL cholesterol." Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 4.3 (2005): 185-186.
     
  5. Mensink, Ronald P., et al. "Effects of dietary fatty acids and carbohydrates on the ratio of serum total to HDL cholesterol and on serum lipids and apolipoproteins: a meta-analysis of 60 controlled trials." The American journal of clinical nutrition 77.5 (2003): 1146-1155.