With all the rich, sugary holiday meals coming up, it’s important to understand the different types of cholesterol and the effects they have on your body. The healthy kind of cholesterol is HDL. HDL does the body a lot of good by building cell membranes, helping your body to absorb fat and Vitamins, insulating nerve fibers and aiding in the production of hormones. The type of cholesterol your doctor warns you about is LDL. LDL is the infamous artery clogging cholesterol that can lead to heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and ultimately death.

Think of cholesterol in terms of delivery trucks bringing you your Amazon Prime order. LDL (unhealthy cholesterol) is like a huge delivery truck that only transports one package at a time. Delivering all the packages to a neighborhood would require multiple trucks, more fuel, more employees, more time and most importantly the streets would be completely clogged. LDL’s delivery method just doesn’t make sense.

HDL (healthy cholesterol) is like an efficiently packed delivery truck completely full of packages with a specific route, requiring minimal fuel and labor, keeping the streets clean and organized.
So what can we do to increase the super speedy delivery trucks in our bodies? Changing your diet and exercise habits is the key to healthy cholesterol.


Beans and legumes are packed with fiber so reach for black black beans or lentils. Canned beans only contain about half as much folate as cooked dry beans, and folate is an important B-vitamin to keep your heart healthy.


Fruits full of fiber, like apples, oranges and pears, can boost your HDL levels and lower your LDL levels. They’re the perfect mid-afternoon snack or after-dinner treat.


Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish help increase your HDL. Go for fattier options such as salmon, aiming for two servings per week. If you’re not into the fishy taste and can’t fulfill your omega-3 goals, ask your doctor about supplements such as fish oil or krill oil.


Nuts like almonds are filled with heart-healthy fats. They also contain plenty of fiber, as well as a substance called plant sterols, which blocks the absorption of cholesterol in your body.


Soy-based products aren’t just for vegetarians. Incorporating soy into your diet helps reduce your meat consumption. When you eat less meat, your LDL levels will most likely decrease while your HDL levels are likely to increase.

While eating the right foods can help you reduce your bad cholesterol and improve your good cholesterol, it’s not the only thing you should be doing.

  • Stay fit! Daily exercise is one of the best natural ways to boost your HDL. Start slow and aim for 30-45 minutes of walking a few times a week. Engaging in cardio and resistance training is the best plan for reducing cholesterol.

  • Lose the winter weight. Reducing your weight can help raise your HDL and lower your LDL cholesterol levels.

  • Take care of your digestive system. New research is finding that your gut flora or microbiome influences your cholesterol levels and heart disease risk. Add probiotic-rich foods like yogurt to your daily diet.