According to a study, consumption of olive oil-enriched dark chocolate may improve the health of your heart by raising the level of good cholesterol in the body. It also preserves the cells responsible for maintaining blood vessels. Rossella Di Stefano, a cardiologist at the University of Pisa, said that plant polyphenols present in fruits and vegetables like olive oil, apple and cocoa have a protective effect on the body. The study, which was conducted for a period of 28 days, found that the level of endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) that play an important role in the maintenance and repair of blood vessels increase in volunteers who consumed chocolate enriched with olive oil. The dark chocolate with extra virgin olive oil also increased the level of good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Here are five more foods that will increase the level of HDL or good cholesterol in your body.

Fatty fish

Salmon

Salmon

Fatty fishes like mackerel and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can increase good cholesterol or HDL levels and decrease bad cholesterol or LDL. Eat at least two servings per week to keep your heart healthy. You can also consume fish oil pills but it is better to eat the food.

Red wine

According to a research, drinking red wine can increase the level of good cholesterol. Moderate drinking of alcohol, which means two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for men above the age of 65 and women, help in increasing HDL and lowering LDL cholesterol and triglyceride.

Legumes

Legumes

Legumes

Legumes contain folate, which is good for your heart. It is also rich in soluble fiber and proteins. You can eat kidney beans and other legumes to keep your heart healthy. Make legumes a part of your diet.

Fresh orange juice

According to a study, daily consumption of orange juice increased the level of HDL by 21 percent in the participants. It may be due to the presence of hesperidin, a flavonoid that are HDL friendly. So, drink up your orange juice to increase the HDL or the good cholesterol levels in your body.

Flax seeds

Flax seeds

Flax seeds

Flax seeds are one of the healthiest seeds you must eat. Rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, flax seeds increase the HDL levels in your body. Add flax seeds to your salad, oatmeal or yogurt. You ca also sprinkle a little flax seeds on your baked goods. You can also buy ground flaxseed.