Consuming the monounsaturated fat found in olive, canola and peanut oils, as well as in nuts such as walnuts is one way to raise blood HDL levels, reports WebMD. Drinking one alcoholic beverage per day in the form of hard liquor, beer or wine is also effective for raising HDL. Losing weight and exercising are other ways to increase HDL levels, as is quitting cigarettes.
Avocados, fish and other omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods are helpful choices for increasing HDL in the blood, according to Mayo Clinic. Daily physical exercise is one of the best ways to increase HDL. After 30 minutes of walking, cycling or swimming at a quick pace five times a week over two months, a 5 percent increase in HDL cholesterol is typically experienced. Even three shorter, 10-minute periods of exercising at an elevated heart rate offer the same benefit.
High-density lipoproteins, or HDL, are referred to as good cholesterol because it is their function to sweep up excess cholesterol found in the blood and return it to the liver for metabolization and expulsion from the body, explains Mayo Clinic. HDL blood test levels below 50 for women and 40 in men indicate a predisposition for heart disease, states WebMD. The optimal level for protection is 60 and above.