In addition to its role as a part of cell membranes and as a precursor for steroid hormones, cholesterol is also linked to atherosclerosis. Cholesterol is found in the blood in the form of lipoproteins. High levels of one kind of lipoprotein, known as low-density lipoprotein, increases a person's risk of developing atherosclerosis, whereas high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol can help protect a person from the effects of atherosclerosis. Fish oil can be used to help raise your HDL level, thus decreasing your risk of developing atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Consume two servings of fatty fish each week. Although all fish are generally considered to be a good source of lean protein, certain kinds of fish are also rich in fish oil. Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is a type of lipid that has been linked to increased concentrations of HDL cholesterol in the blood. Fatty fish, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), include mackerel, salmon, albacore tuna, herring, lake trout and sardines. Consuming two servings of fatty fish each week can help you increase your omega-3 fatty acid intake, the American Heart Association (AHA) explains.
Take fish oil supplements. Fish oil supplements usually come as capsules and should be swallowed whole, recommends Drugs.com. Take these supplements according to the directions on the package. Make sure that you do not consume more than 3 g of omega-3 fatty acids, as high quantities of these lipids can increase your risk of developing bleeding problems, warns the AHA.
Avoid foods that are high in omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids, which are another kind of lipid, can counteract the benefits of fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids. Most meats except for fish are high in omega-6 fatty acids, as is vegetable oil, reports the UMMC.