Foods that raise HDL levels include whole grain and wheat products, nuts, foods containing plant sterols and omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods. A doctor may advise a person with high cholesterol to eat these foods with or without medication.
HDL, or high-density lipoproteins, contain good cholesterol that helps the liver break down bad cholesterol. A person can lower high cholesterol levels and prevent heart problems by eating HDL-rich foods. A doctor can determine a person's cholesterol levels by performing a baseline cholesterol test. This test involves taking a blood sample and examining the cholesterol levels. A person can also prevent heart disease and lower cholesterol by refraining from smoking and over consumption of alcohol, getting regular exercise and losing weight.
Adults should take part in cholesterol screening about once every five years. Those at risk require more frequent screenings. Medications that contain niacin, fibrates or statins can help lower cholesterol. Some are available over the counter, while others require a prescription. A person should consult a doctor before taking any type of medication. Each individual is different and may respond better to certain types of medication. A doctor usually monitors the patient regularly to make sure the prescribed medication and lifestyle changes lower the HDL levels.