Diet & exercise. Moderate exercise (about 30 minutes five times a week) reduces LDL cholesterol and raises HDL cholesterol. Smoking can lower HDL levels, so stop smoking if you do. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein. Include monounsaturated fats in your diet- olive oil/canola oil. Moderate consumption of alcohol may also positively impact HDL levels. 1 glass of wine a day.
Niaspan (niacin) Niaspan (niacin) is the most effective HDL raising drug available. It raises HDL by about 15-35%. However, a large study has shown that taking a high dose of Niaspan (niacin) to raise HDL in combo with statins does nothing to prevent heart attacks and strokes. The purpose of your raising HDL must be to reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes. Then try to bring down LDL as low as possible to target ldl/hdl <2.
Lose weight. Hdl is largely determined genetically and is not affected greatly by diet. Exercise and significant weight loss will increase hdl. Control of diabetes and treatment of high triglycerides ( the major fat in addition to cholesterol) often will help raise hdl. Research is ongoing to develop drugs to raise the level of hdl. However thus far they haven't been proven to decrease adverse cardiac events.
Consider. Consider adding Niacin to your diet. In combination w/ omega fatty acids and exercise, this will make some posiive changes in HDL and entire lipoprofile. Beware - some people experience flushing or symptoms of rash or hot flash - avoid consumption of spicy food, hot beverages or alcohol around time it is taken. Consider an 81mg Aspirin 30min prior which also helps to reduce flushing.