Foods that tend to improve high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels include whole grains, nuts and fatty fish, as stated by Mayo Clinic. Other lifestyle changes along with food intake, such as increasing physical activity and losing weight, are also crucial in achieving healthy HDL levels.
HDL cholesterol is also known as the good kind of cholesterol because it acts like a scavenger in the body to reduce the amount of the unhealthy type of cholesterol, according to Everyday Health. Foods such as oatmeal, oat bran, whole wheat products, walnuts, almonds and Brazil nuts are effective in increasing HDL cholesterol levels, according to Mayo Clinic. Other foods that positively affect HDL levels are red and purple fruits and vegetables, such as figs, plums, cabbage, eggplants and raspberries, states Everyday Health. These foods are rich in a chemical called anthocyanin, which gives them their vibrant colors and has been shown to raise HDL levels. Moderate consumption of red wine has also been shown to raise the levels of good cholesterol.
Changing other lifestyle habits can also improve HDL levels, states Mayo Clinic. These changes include participating in regular physical activity, avoiding smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and moderating sugar intake. Doctors may prescribe medications to increase HDL cholesterol.