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How to Increase HDL Cholesterol With Indian Food?

Overview of High-Density Lipoprotein

There are two types of cholesterol in our bodies. One is low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is known as the bad cholesterol. The other is high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which is commonly referred to as the good cholesterol. Everyone strives to lower the levels of the bad, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and increase the levels of high-density lipoprotein. It is always good to have high levels of HDL in the body because high-density lipoprotein helps transport cholesterol from the arteries to the liver. Once it reaches the liver, the cholesterol can either be used or thrown out of the body, both of which are beneficial to your health.

HDL has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also known to lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.(1)(2) Even though there is a genetic factor involved in determining the levels of HDL, there are also some other factors involved that help increase the HDL levels.

The easiest way to increase HDL is through food. There are various food items that can help improve the levels of good cholesterol. Here are some Indian foods that can help increase HDL in the body.

How to Increase HDL Cholesterol With Indian Food?

How to Increase HDL Cholesterol With Indian Food?

Yogurt or Dahi

Yogurt or dahi is popular for the high levels of good bacteria. Helpful bacterial species such as Lactobacillus delbrueckii, Streptococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis, Saccharomyces boulardii, amongst others, make yogurt a very healthy food for increasing HDL levels. Even though the bacteria present in yogurt cannot survive for long in the gut, but they still help in balancing the gut microbiota, contributing to good health.

These healthy bacteria are a type of probiotics that benefit the digestive system. They help regulate the gastrointestinal system and reduce constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and gas.

Research has indicated that probiotics can strengthen the immune system, reduce the risk of cancer, and also help with weight management.(3)

A research study in 2013 found that yogurt can boost the levels of HDL cholesterol, lower the levels of triglycerides, and also improve blood pressure.(4)

Another research has also shown that yogurt helps lower LDL cholesterol.(5) For example, a British study found that taking two doses of a probiotic every day reduced major cholesterol-bearing molecules in the body and also reduced the levels of LDL cholesterol.(6)


There is a reason why eggs are known as a superfood. They are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. However, due to yolks being high in cholesterol, eggs sometimes get a bad reputation. However, the fact is that eating a few eggs will not cause your cholesterol to increase to a worrying level.

There are various studies that have found that eggs help increase good HDL cholesterol.(7,8,9) These studies also found that regular consumption of eggs did not significantly increase the levels of bad or LDL cholesterol. And in many cases, LDL levels remained unchanged.

So while there is no need to go overboard while having eggs, having one to two eggs every day is going to help you increase the levels of high-density lipoprotein.

Fatty Fish

An Indian diet rich in fish, especially fatty fish, helps improve the levels of HDL cholesterol. This also helps improve cholesterol transport through the body.

A study in 2014 found that a diet rich in fatty fish helps increase HDL in the blood and also lowers the risk of heart disease.(10) The Indian Heart Association also recommends that you have fish for boosting heart health.(11) A 2013 study published in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism found that having fatty fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids is good for the heart and is known for preventing many types of heart problems.(12)

Salmon, trout, and herring are some excellent options for fish to include in your diet for increasing HDL levels.

Olive Oil

Olive oil was a relatively late entrant to the Indian oil market. Still, lately, as people become familiar with the many health benefits of this oil, more and more Indian households are opting for cooking with olive oil.

Olive oil is the healthiest fat you can have. A study by the University of Vienna in Austria found that olive oil is the only source of monounsaturated fat that lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.(13)

Additionally, there have been many research studies that have shown that one of the biggest heart benefits of olive oil is that it increases the levels of HDL cholesterol. It is believed that the high content of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant, present in olive oil, is the reason behind this increase.(14,15,16)

It is believed that extra virgin olive oil contains even more polyphenols than the more processed brands of olive oils. The amount of polyphenols also tends to vary between different brands of olive oil available in India.

For example, a 2006 study in Spain found that the participants who consumed olive oil with the highest polyphenol levels experienced the most significant increase in their HDL levels.(17)

This is why, whenever possible, try to purchase the high-quality, extra virgin olive oil that is known to have the highest in polyphenol content.

Avoid Having Artificial Trans Fats

A typical Indian diet contains many sources of artificial trans fats. The types of fats are associated with many adverse health effects as they increase inflammation in the body.(18)

There are two types of trans fat – natural and artificial. Natural trans fat occurs naturally in animal products and full-fat dairy. Artificial trans fats are found in processed foods and margarine. These are manufactured by adding hydrogen to seed oils or unsaturated vegetable oils. These are also referred to as partially hydrogenated fats or industrial trans fats.

These artificial trans fats are responsible for increasing inflammation in the body. They are also behind many health conditions and also lower the levels of good HDL cholesterol.

In one study, it was found that participants’ HDL cholesterol levels fell by 10 percent after regularly having margarine that was made from partially hydrogenated soybean oil.(19)

In order to keep HDL cholesterol levels high and to protect your health, it is best to avoid artificial trans fats as much as possible.

Artificial trans fats can be commonly found in the following foods:

  • Microwave popcorn
  • Vegetable oils such as soybean, corn, and canola
  • Certain margarine
  • Fried fast foods such as fried chicken, hamburgers, French fries, fried noodles, fried and battered fish
  • Bakery products such as cakes, pastries, muffins, doughnuts, etc.
  • Pizza
  • Crackers
  • Potato and corn chips


Even though your genetics also have a role to play in determining the levels of HDL cholesterol, there are still many things you can do to increase your levels naturally. Furthermore, these practices for increasing HDL cholesterol are also going to be good for your overall health and will particularly be good for your heart.

If you find that all these methods of increasing your HDL cholesterol are not proving to be effective, then you can talk to your doctor about taking certain dietary supplements that are aimed at raising HDL levels.


  1. Ali, K.M., Wonnerth, A., Huber, K. and Wojta, J., 2012. Cardiovascular disease risk reduction by raising HDL cholesterol–current therapies and future opportunities. British journal of pharmacology, 167(6), pp.1177-1194.
  2. Berrougui, H., Momo, C.N. and Khalil, A., 2012. Health benefits of high-density lipoproteins in preventing cardiovascular diseases. Journal of clinical lipidology, 6(6), pp.524-533.
  3. De Leblanc, A.D.M., Matar, C. and Perdigón, G., 2007. The application of probiotics in cancer. British Journal of Nutrition, 98(S1), pp.S105-S110.
  4. Wang, H., Livingston, K.A., Fox, C.S., Meigs, J.B. and Jacques, P.F., 2013. Yogurt consumption is associated with better diet quality and metabolic profile in American men and women. Nutrition Research, 33(1), pp.18-26.
  5. American Heart Association. (2020). Search News Releases. [online] Available at: http://newsroom.heart.org/news/daily-doses-of-a-new-probiotic-239562 [Accessed 5 Feb. 2020].
  6. Jones, M.L., Martoni, C.J., Parent, M. and Prakash, S., 2012. Cholesterol-lowering efficacy of a microencapsulated bile salt hydrolase-active Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 yoghurt formulation in hypercholesterolaemic adults. British Journal of Nutrition, 107(10), pp.1505-1513.
  7. Blesso, C.N., Andersen, C.J., Barona, J., Volek, J.S. and Fernandez, M.L., 2013. Whole egg consumption improves lipoprotein profiles and insulin sensitivity to a greater extent than yolk-free egg substitute in individuals with metabolic syndrome. Metabolism, 62(3), pp.400-410.
  8. Schnohr, P., Thomsen, O.Ø., Hansen, P.R., Boberg‐Ans, G., Lawaetz, H. and Weeke, T., 1994. Egg consumption and high‐density‐lipoprotein cholesterol. Journal of internal medicine, 235(3), pp.249-251.
  9. Mutungi, G., Ratliff, J., Puglisi, M., Torres-Gonzalez, M., Vaishnav, U., Leite, J.O., Quann, E., Volek, J.S. and Fernandez, M.L., 2008. Dietary cholesterol from eggs increases plasma HDL cholesterol in overweight men consuming a carbohydrate-restricted diet. The Journal of nutrition, 138(2), pp.272-276.
  10. Lankinen, M., Kolehmainen, M., Jääskeläinen, T., Paananen, J., Joukamo, L., Kangas, A.J., Soininen, P., Poutanen, K., Mykkänen, H., Gylling, H. and Orešič, M., 2014. Effects of whole grain, fish and bilberries on serum metabolic profile and lipid transfer protein activities: a randomized trial (Sysdimet). PLoS One, 9(2).
  11. Indian Heart Association. (2020). Home | – Indian Heart Association. [online] Available at: http://indianheartassociation.org/ [Accessed 6 Feb. 2020].
  12. Peter, S., Chopra, S. and Jacob, J.J., 2013. A fish a day, keeps the cardiologist away!–A review of the effect of omega-3 fatty acids in the cardiovascular system. Indian journal of endocrinology and metabolism, 17(3), p.422.
  13. Schwingshackl, L. and Hoffmann, G., 2014. Monounsaturated fatty acids, olive oil and health status: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Lipids in health and disease, 13(1), p.154.
  14. Farràs, M., Castañer, O., Martín‐Peláez, S., Hernáez, Á., Schröder, H., Subirana, I., Muñoz‐Aguayo, D., Gaixas, S., Torre, R.D.L., Farré, M. and Rubió, L., 2015.
  15. Complementary phenol‐enriched olive oil improves HDL characteristics in hypercholesterolemic subjects. A randomized, double‐blind, crossover, controlled trial. The VOHF study. Molecular nutrition & food research, 59(9), pp.1758-1770.
  16. Covas, M.I., Nyyssönen, K., Poulsen, H.E., Kaikkonen, J., Zunft, H.J.F., Kiesewetter, H., Gaddi, A., de la Torre, R., Mursu, J., Bäumler, H. and Nascetti, S., 2006. The effect of polyphenols in olive oil on heart disease risk factors: a randomized trial. Annals of internal medicine, 145(5), pp.333-341.
  17. Oliveras-López, M.J., Molina, J.J.M., Mir, M.V., Rey, E.F., Martín, F. and de la Serrana, H.L.G., 2013. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) consumption and antioxidant status in healthy institutionalized elderly humans. Archives of gerontology and geriatrics, 57(2), pp.234-242.
  18. Covas, M.I., Nyyssönen, K., Poulsen, H.E., Kaikkonen, J., Zunft, H.J.F., Kiesewetter, H., Gaddi, A., de la Torre, R., Mursu, J., Bäumler, H. and Nascetti, S., 2006. The effect of polyphenols in olive oil on heart disease risk factors: a randomized trial. Annals of internal medicine, 145(5), pp.333-341.
  19. Bendsen, N.T., Stender, S., Szecsi, P.B., Pedersen, S.B., Basu, S., Hellgren, L.I., Newman, J.W., Larsen, T.M., Haugaard, S.B. and Astrup, A., 2011. Effect of industrially produced trans fat on markers of systemic inflammation: evidence from a randomized trial in women. Journal of lipid research, 52(10), pp.1821-1828.
  20. Pedersen, J.I., Müller, H., Seljeflot, I. and Kirkhus, B., 2005. Palm oil versus hydrogenated soybean oil: effects on serum lipids and plasma haemostatic variables. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition, 14(4), p.348.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 1, 2021

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