4 Foods to Help Boost Good Cholesterol

Cholesterol-cutting statins aren't particularly effective at raising HDL -- but, happily, new research shows you can crank levels up by eating these foods.

By Janice Graham from Reader's Digest | September 2009
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1. Dark chocolate. In a recent study, volunteers who ate 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate (the gourmet kind that's 70 percent cacao) every day for a week raised their HDL by 9 percent. That's a load of chocolate (about 550 calories' worth!), but study coauthor Paul A. Gurbel, MD, of Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, says eating smaller daily doses (say, 1/2 ounce) over an extended period of time should also help.

2. Salmon. HDL rose 4 percent in adults who ate two 4-ounce servings of salmon a week for four weeks, according to a Loma Linda University study. Other fatty fish -- mackerel, herring, sardines -- should deliver similar benefits, researchers say.

3. Berries. They needn't be fresh, just plentiful: HDL levels rose 5 percent when adults ate about a cup of frozen berries a day for eight weeks.

4. Eggs. Healthy adults who ate a whole egg every day for 12 weeks increased HDL as much as 48 percent in a study from Thailand. Eggs are rich in lecithin -- which, animal studies have shown, raises HDL.

Bonus Tip: HDL is often called 'good cholesterol,' but really it's great: For every point you add to your score, you get a 2 to 3 percent drop in your risk of heart disease.

See also: 14 Cholesterol-Friendly Recipes

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