Foods that raise HDL, the good type of cholesterol, are healthy fats, whole grains and nuts, according to Mayo Clinic. Higher HDL cholesterol levels are desirable because HDL has beneficial anti-inflammatory properties.
The healthy fats that raise HDL are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats found in peanut oil, canola oil and olive oil. Omega-3 fatty acids that also improve HDL cholesterol are found in options such as fatty fish, fish oil supplements, flaxseed and flaxseed oil. Whole grains, especially oats, also improve HDL-to-LDL cholesterol ratios, as reported by Mayo clinic. The plant sterols such as beta-sitosterol and beta-sitostanol that are included in margarine spreads like Benecol and Promise Activ may raise HDL as well.
Alcohol in moderation can benefit HDL-to-LDL ratios. A moderate amount is defined as two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. Drinking more alcohol can have a negative impact on cholesterol. Individuals who do not drink should not start simply to raise HDL levels, states Mayo Clinic.
Other methods to raise HDL include maintaining a healthy weight, getting plenty of physical exercise and refraining from tobacco use. Quitting smoking alone can raise HDL cholesterol by up to 10 points, reports Mayo Clinic.