There are many different foods that can help raise HDL levels including fish, nuts, whole foods, leafy green vegetables, adding in healthier fats such as olive oil and even a glass of an alcoholic beverage once a day, reports the Mayo Clinic. Eating these foods will not automatically raise HDL levels, however, and it is advisable to make lifestyle changes as well.
Lifestyle changes such as adding in more moderate physical exercise each week, losing additional weight and avoiding smoking can help naturally raise the HDL levels in the body, reports the Mayo Clinic. In some cases, medications can also help when prescribed by the patient's doctor.
There are two different kinds of cholesterol present in a person's body: HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. The HDL cholesterol is considered the "good" kind of cholesterol while the LDL cholesterol is considered the "bad" kind of cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association. The HDL cholesterol works to get rid of the LDL cholesterol. The LDL cholesterol clogs up arteries and creates clots within the arteries that lead to strokes, heart attacks and peripheral artery disease. One of the best predictors of a person's artery health is their ratio of HDL to LDL. Doctors advise patients to aim for high levels of HDL compared to low levels of LDL, according to the American Heart Association.