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Good Fats = Good Cholesterol

Good Fats = Good Cholesterol

Avocados, nuts, olives and seeds—even if you have high cholesterol, don't give 'em up.

In case you haven't quite gotten the whole good-fats-versus-bad-fats thing down yet, unsaturated fats are your friends when it comes to lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) and raising good cholesterol (HDL). So if your salad looks a little dull tonight, make your stomach and your arteries happy: Toss in some walnuts, sunflower seeds or avocado and use a dressing made with olive oil. Then, eat up.

To make your diet heart-healthy, choose foods that contain unsaturated fat rather than saturated, and stay away from trans fat altogether. How can you tell the difference? Almost all plant-based fats are the heart-healthy kind (i.e. good fats), unless they have been hydrogenated. Cook with natural, unhydrogenated canola, sesame or vegetable oil instead of butter, shortening or stick margarine. On sandwiches, skip the mayo and spread on a moist, flavorful alternative like mustard, hummus or crushed-olive tapenade. Just remember: Heart-healthy or not, you still need to limit total fat consumption to about 30 percent of your daily diet to obtain good cholesterol levels and more.

Medically reviewed in November 2019.

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