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High Density Lipoproteins (HDL), are 'good cholesterol', which, if present in high levels in the body, can reduce the chances of a heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases. The reason behind this is, HDL reduces fatty deposits or atheroma in the arteries. When spoken of in general terms, the word cholesterol only creates fear, because what most people are told or are aware of is LDL or Low Density Lipoproteins, which are indeed bad for the body. It is this 'bad cholesterol' that tends to stick to the walls of the arteries, thus bringing about a heap of health issues for most people. According to medical specifications, the ideal HDL level for both men and women is 60mg/dl or higher. While 40mg/dl or anything below that is risky for men, for women, 50mg/dl or lower is unsafe.

There are innumerable HDL cholesterol raising foods. An important point to bear in mind though, is to consume even these foods in moderation. After all, it is never a good idea to overdo the consumption of a certain product just because it qualifies as 'healthy'.

Omega-3 Acids: Consumption of foods that have a rich omega-3 content are very good to control cholesterol problems, and increase levels of HDL.
  • Fish (Salmon, Halibut, Herring, Sardines)
  • Cauliflower
  • Soy Products (Soybeans, Soy oil, Tofu, Tempeh)
  • Cabbage
  • Nuts (Walnuts, Almonds, Pecans, Hazelnuts, Pine nuts)
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Flax Seeds and Flax Seed Oil
  • Berries (Strawberries, Raspberries, Bilberries, Black Currants)
  • Spinach
  • Green Beans
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Oregano
Cocoa: Isn't the thought of cocoa as a healthy food a good thought? It's true. Consumed in the right amount, cocoa can actually do more good than harm to your body. Now you can stay guilt-free while indulging in your favorite dark chocolate. Just make sure that you don't overdo it.

Eggs: Always considered an unhealthy item that could contribute to high cholesterol levels, most people steer clear of them. Truth is, eggs are high in cholesterol, but it is HDL that they are high in, so you need not worry the next time you feel like having some eggs. As always, moderation is the key.

Whole Grain: If you are one of those people who've enjoyed living on foods filled with carbs and starch, it's time to switch over to whole grains. Whether bread or pasta, whole-wheat options are easily available nowadays, and that is the path you should choose to lean towards. In all honestly, grains are best kept away from altogether, but since that isn't entirely possible, this is definitely a safe option.

Onion: There are many people out there who do not like onions, but this is in fact a very good food item if you are looking to increase HDL cholesterol. Onions have anti-inflammatory properties, and are very good for healing the arteries as well.

Garlic: Another naturally anti-inflammatory food, garlic, is a very good natural remedy to protect the cardiovascular system.

Red Wine: The belief that alcohol consumption only does harm has been defied by adding red wine to this list. Make no mistake though, drinking too much wine can be unhealthy for you. An average of one glass a day for women, and one or two glasses a day for men, is fair consumption.

While the above mentioned were foods that are good for you, foods that you must stay away from are high fat dairy products (cheese, cream, etc.), refined carbohydrates, and trans-fatty acids (vegetable shortening or hydrogenated oil).