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Olives and their oil are cornerstones; go for four to six servings per day (a serving could be 1 teaspoon of olive oil, five olives or one-eighth of an avocado). Olive oil delivers healthy monounsaturated fats and plant compounds called polyphenols.

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Fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring are brimming with omega-3 fatty acids. These fats don't directly raise HDL, but they can help lower your triglycerides, a type of unhealthy fat in your blood.

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Like avocado and olive oil, almonds (and other nuts) are a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that can improve your total cholesterol ratio.

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Consider using it as your go-to for cooking. Olive oil is packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

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The fruit serves up plenty of monounsaturated fats and fiber, both of which are keys for keeping your cholesterol levels healthy.

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Nuts like walnuts are a good source of polyunsaturated fats — heart-healthy fats that play a key role in improving your total cholesterol ratio. And if you're not a fan of fish, good news: Walnuts offer omega-3 fatty acids too.

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For expensive, large cuts of meat, roasting is usually the answer. The dry heat method caramelizes the exterior and allows for even cooking throughout.

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