For years and years, we have been hearing that we need to avoid high cholesterol foods because they are detrimental to our heart health, and for the most part, we have been obedient. Recent research into good cholesterol, or HDL, and bad cholesterol, or LDL, has shown us that it is beneficial to maintain good cholesterol for brain, body, and heart health.

Top nutrition advisory councils are now hailing the effects of good cholesterol in the body, promoting the consumption of high cholesterol foods that stimulate the production and circulation of HDL. High levels of LDL in the bloodstream still pose health risks to people with heart issues and diabetes. However, with continued revelations coming to light with respect to the types of foods that stimulate good cholesterol, we can now begin to compile a list of acceptable foods with confidence that they can be enjoyed without consequence.

Good vs. Bad….what’s the difference?

HDL, or high-density lipoprotein, is responsible for taking the bad cholesterol out of circulation in your bloodstream. LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, is the sticky, gunky substance that can build up on the inner walls of your arteries, causing arterial plaque and arteriosclerosis.

Your chances of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes exponentially increase with rising levels of LDL in your bloodstream. Do what you can to naturally reduce levels of LDL while promoting the circulation of HDL with the foods you eat. This practice will help to promote good overall health.

In the past, it was thought that we needed to avoid eating high cholesterol foods, as they had adverse effects on our bloodstream. We know now that certain foods, regardless of cholesterol content, are triggers for the production of high-density lipoprotein. Thus, they are healthy to consume. Here are some of the once thought taboo high cholesterol foods that we can now enjoy with confidence that we are eating for good health:

1. Cheese

Cheese makes everything better, doesn’t it? It is tasty, filling, and filled with nutrients that fuel and satiate the body. Containing 7 grams of protein per serving and providing at least 20 percent of your daily calcium requirements, its benefits extend beyond just raising good cholesterol. In addition, whole dairy, low carb foods are now proven to lower body fat percentage if consumed regularly. Slice up some fresh cheddar, please!

2. Eggs

Eggs are easily one of the most nutritionally dense, delicious high cholesterol foods on this planet. While they are extremely high in cholesterol, this cholesterol lowers overall LDL cholesterol circulating in your blood. They are rich in protein, selenium, vitamin B12, and they are also known to protect eye health with contributions like lutein and zeaxanthin, powerful antioxidants. Eggs are excellent protein sources for people with diabetes. This is because they are known to lower blood sugar levels and give a feeling fullness and satisfaction.

3. Liver

Liver is a powerhouse of nutrition, and it’s had such a bad rap. Packed with good cholesterol, over 28 grams of protein per serving, and vitamins and minerals essential for good health, it delivers nutrition as promised. Besides that, liver is one of just a few foods containing the mineral choline. Choline is essential for brain, heart, liver, and muscle health.

4. Shellfish

Shellfish are both delicious and nutritious. If you want a succulent way to improve your good cholesterol, consider adding the following foods to your diet:

  • shrimp
  • crab
  • lobster
  • mussels
  • oysters
  • clams
  • scallops

Shellfish are great sources of protein and essential vitamins needed for good health. They are rich in selenium, a mineral needed for reducing inflammation and development of prostate cancer. They are also rich in iodine, a mineral needed for brain and thyroid health.

5. Cod liver oil

While not many people gravitate toward cod liver oil as a delicious way to promote good cholesterol, it does have many health benefits that deserve the spotlight. One of the most surprising high cholesterol foods, cod liver oil has a very high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids are excellent for lowering blood pressure and reducing inflammation. It helps to promote healthy eyes and may even reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. You may take these in supplement form or used in salad dressings, sauces, and soups. Regardless, it is an excellent way to strike the delicate balance of good vs. bad cholesterol.

6. Organ meats

Although the liver is the most popular organ meat that is consumed by us, there are other organ meats that are just as healthy and nutritious that balance cholesterol. It would take us all a while to get used to eating kidneys, heart, and brain tissue from other animals, but the reality is that this is just as nutritious as some of the other meats we choose to consume. Organ meat is rich in vitamins B, C, and it also contains selenium, which is excellent for heart and brain health. Heart is a great source of CoQ10, which has been known to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

7. Sardines

While they have not yet gained popularity, sardines may be regarded as the next best superfood. A single serving of sardines packed in an impressive 142 mg of cholesterol, which does wonders to balance your own HDL and LDL levels in the body. They also contain over 1500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for brain, eye, heart, and joint health. Studies have also shown that foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids lower the incidence of anxiety and depression.

8. Steak

Red meat has certainly gotten a bad rap in recent years. However, high-quality, organic cuts of red meat are excellent for balancing good cholesterol. Look for prime cuts like filet mignon, sirloin tips, and T-Bone steaks. These are all excellent choices for maintaining good cholesterol in the body. Make sure your meat comes from high-quality organic sources; grass-fed meats are most beneficial.

9. Whole milk yogurt

Whole milk yogurt is chock full of vitamins and minerals needed to support a healthy and thriving body. Containing protein, calcium, phosphorous, and a host of other vitamins, it will aid in eliminating LDL, reducing blood pressure, and even lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Reach for this healthy snack and know that you are putting yourself on the track to optimal health and wellness.

10. Cream

It may seem counterintuitive to add heavy cream to your diet, but the combination of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fat contained in each serving naturally reduces LDL and promotes good cholesterol. This is one of the facts about high cholesterol foods that you may already know. Yet it doesn’t adversely affect the level of LDL in the blood; load up on some peaches and cream for breakfast, and pile on the whipping cream with your next serving of pie. You can have your decadence and maintain good health!

11. Butter

Butter makes everything better, doesn’t it? Researchers are now abandoning the notion the butter raises LDL levels in the blood, and more comprehensive research now points to its ability to balance both HDL and LDL efficiently. One of nature’s most potent high cholesterol foods, it adds a comforting warmth to anything you grace it with. Go ahead, slather those dinner rolls–you may just be doing something good for yourself.

12. Nuts

Nuts, including Brazil nuts, pistachios, and almonds are all full of heart-healthy fats. They also contain compounds called plant sterols, which are known to block or inhibit the absorption of bad cholesterol in the body. Eating an ounce or two for a snack and finding ways to incorporate them into your meals will be a healthful new habit that is also delicious. If you are watching your weight, make sure you exercise portion control when choosing your nut snacks, as these little beauties can be high in calories.

13. Avocado

A good avocado is a little slice of heaven. Nature’s favorite new fruit is fast taking over mainstream nutrition, as people are slathering it on toast, making guacamole, and adding slices of it to almost everything we eat. Avocados are high in monounsaturated fat and folate, which helps to reduce the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Also packed full of fiber, this does its job to absorb LDL cholesterol and help it to exit the body quickly.

high cholesterol foods

14. Cold Pressed oils

Experts agree that a moderate amount of healthy fat in the diet is beneficial to our health. Cold-pressed oils, such as olive oil and avocado oil are healthy because of their high concentration of monounsaturated fats. Both of these oils are heart-healthy and contain a number of vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health. Consider cooking with these oils by adding them to salads and soups. And consider even taking a tablespoon or two for good health.

15. Flax

Both ground flax seeds and flaxseed oil contain heart-healthy beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. This is one of the best plant-based sources of heart-healthy fat. When you purchase flaxseed, make sure to buy ground flax, as whole flax seeds are difficult for the body to assimilate and break down. Add ground flaxseed to your morning yogurt, cereal, or sprinkle on salads and dips for added flavor, texture, and all the health benefits from this superfood.

Embrace these foods as part of a healthy diet

There is no need to shy away from these delicious and nutritious high cholesterol foods as part of a healthy diet. Incorporating them into your nutrition plan in combination with a plan for exercise and stress reduction will improve your health significantly. Here’s to your healthiest and best life!