Cholesterol molecules travel through the blood attached to proteins. These packages of cholesterol (a type of lipid) and protein are called lipoproteins. These lipoproteins are either high- or low-density, depending on how much protein and fat they contain. That difference is how we distinguish what we consider “good” cholesterol from “bad.”
Another type of fat in the blood, called triglycerides, can also affect your health. They are another important number in your overall cholesterol profile.
All Greatest Information for Ideal Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol ideal is extremely useful to maintain a life free from disease. To prevent heart disease and diabetes, we need to keep the ratio of LDL cholesterol less than that of HDL. Cholesterol in cell membranes is beneficial in the arrangement of cell membranes in mammals. The American Heart Association indicates that a healthy diet, staying active and avoiding smoking is the right cholesterol, which affects the whole body in a helpful way.
Why is cholesterol important?
Having high cholesterol levels in your blood is one of the risk factors, which increases your chances of getting heart disease.
One of the best ways to prevent heart disease is to keep your cholesterol at a healthy level. The following information will outline ways to help you do this.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat found in your blood. You need a certain amount of cholesterol for all your body cells and to produce important hormones. However, if there is too much cholesterol in your blood, it sticks to the inner lining of your artery or blood vessels to form atheroma.
As a result of this build-up on the artery walls, your arteries become narrowed. This process is called hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis. If an artery supplying the heart muscle becomes blocked completely, the heart muscle becomes damaged. This is known as a heart attack. If an artery to the brain is completely blocked, it damages the brain. This is called a stroke.
Where does cholesterol come from?
Cholesterol is made in the body mainly by the liver. This is often called blood cholesterol. The body can produce all the cholesterol it needs to carry out its many functions and can usually maintain a healthy level of blood cholesterol. However, sometimes the balance goes wrong and there is an increase in blood cholesterol. This may result from inherited problems or from eating too much saturated (animal) fat or too many foods from the top shelf of the Food Pyramid (Fats, High Fat/Sugar Snacks, Foods and Drinks, etc.).
The level of cholesterol in your blood is affected by the amount of saturated fats you eat every day.
Some foods such as eggs, liver and shellfish contain cholesterol. However, the amount of cholesterol in these foods does not greatly affect the amount of cholesterol in your blood. You can eat foods that contain cholesterol in moderation as part of a healthy varied diet.
Also known as: HDL; HDL-C.
Formal name: High-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
HDL cholesterol: Lipoproteins, which are combinations of lipids (fats) and proteins, are the form in which lipids are transported in the blood. The high-density lipoproteins transport cholesterol from the tissues of the body to the liver so it can be gotten rid of (in the bile). HDL cholesterol is therefore considered the “good” cholesterol. The higher the HDL cholesterol level, the lower the risk of coronary artery disease.
Even small increases in HDL cholesterol reduce the frequency of heart attacks. For each 1 mg/dl increase in HDL cholesterol there is a 2 to 4% reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease. Although there are no formal guidelines, proposed treatment goals for patients with low HDL cholesterol are to increase HDL cholesterol to above 35 mg/dl in men and 45 mg/dl in women with a family history of coronary heart disease; and to increase HDL cholesterol to approach 45 mg/dl in men and 55 mg/dl in women with known coronary heart disease.
The first step in increasing HDL cholesterol levels is life style modification. Regular exercise, loss of excess weight (fat), and cessation of cigarette smoking will increase HDL cholesterol levels. When life style modifications are insufficient, medications are used. Medications that are effective in increasing HDL cholesterol include nicotinic acid (niacin), gemfibrozil (Lopid), estrogen, and to a lesser extent, the statin drugs.
Increasing the GOOD cholesterol
HDL cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol, appears to scour the walls of blood vessels, cleaning out excess cholesterol. It then carries that excess cholesterol — which otherwise might have been used to make the “plaques” that cause coronary artery disease — back to the liver for processing. So when we measure a person’s HDL cholesterol level, we seem to be measuring how vigorously his or her blood vessels are being “scrubbed” free of cholesterol.
HDL levels below 40 mg/dl result in an increased risk of coronary artery disease, even in people whose total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels are normal. HDL levels between 40 and 60 mg/dl are considered “normal.” However, HDL levels greater than 60 mg/dl may actually protect people from heart disease. Indeed, for several years, doctors have known that when it comes to HDL levels, the higher the better.
HDL Cholesterol Levels
How can We Increase Our HDL Levels?
- ExerciseMany people don’t like to hear it, but regular exercise (any exercise, such as walking, jogging or bike riding, that raises your heart rate for 20 to 30 minutes at a time) may be the most effective way to increase HDL levels. Recent evidence suggests that the duration of exercise, rather than the intensity, is the more important factor in raising HDL choleserol. But any exercise helps.
- Lose weightObesity results not only in increased LDL cholesterol, but also in reduced HDL cholesterol. If you are overweight, reducing your weight should increase your HDL levels. This is especially important if your excess weight is stored in your abdominal area; your waist-to-hip ratio is particularly important in determining whether you ought to concentrate on weight loss.
- Stop smokingIf you smoke, giving up tobacco will result in an increase in HDL levels.
- Cut out the trans fatty acidsTrans fatty acids are currently present in many of your favorite prepared foods — anything in which the nutrition label reads “partially hydrogenated vegetable oils” — so eliminating them from the diet is a good thing. But trans fatty acids not only increase LDL cholesterol levels, they also reduce HDL cholesterol levels. Removing them from your diet will almost certainly result in a measurable increase in HDL levels.
- Increase the monounsaturated fats in your dietMonounsaturated fats such as canola oil, avocado oil, or olive oil and in the fats found in peanut butter can increase HDL cholesterol levels without increasing the total cholesterol.
- Add soluble fiber to your dietSoluble fibers are found in oats, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, and result in both a reduction in LDL cholesterol and an increase HDL cholesterol. For best results, at least two servings a day should be used.
- Other dietary means to increasing HDLCranberry juice has been shown to increase HDL levels. Fish and other foods containing omega-3 fatty acids can also increase HDL levels. In postmenopausal women (but not, apparently, in men or pre-menopausal women) calcium supplementation can increase HDL levels.
When it comes to HDL cholesterol — “good” cholesterol — the higher the number, the lower your risk. This is because HDL cholesterol protects against heart disease by taking the “bad” cholesterol out of your blood and keeping it from building up in your arteries. The table below explains what the numbers mean.
|HDL Cholesterol||HDL-Cholesterol Category|
|60 and above||High; Optimal; associated with lower risk|
|Less than 40 in men and less than 50 in women||Low; considered a risk factor for heart disease|
HDL Cholesterol Benefits
Lowering your LDL cholesterol is easier to do than raising your HDL cholesterol. However, there is great benefit in bringing your HDL numbers up and even greater benefit by doing both – lowering LDL/raising HDL.
For a long time, focus was primarily on LDL and the need to bring numbers down. However, researchers and physicians have now identified that bringing the HDL level up is just as beneficial and a natural way of fighting off bad cholesterol.
There are definite steps you can take to help raise your HDL:
- Weight Loss
- B3 (Niacin)
Some studies have shown that when antioxidants are coupled with cholesterol-reducing medications such as Statin-type drugs along with Niacin, there was some level of benefit.
Further research suggests that in women with high plasma levels of HDL, the risk of heart attack becomes reduced.
The higher your HDL levels the better. Today, the average for women is between 50 and 55 mg/dl and for men 40 to 45 mg/dl. Again, getting this level over 60 is a very effective start toward improving overall cholesterol ratios.
What Is A Good Cholesterol Level
|Less than 100||Optimal Goal|
|100 to 129||Close to Optimal|
|130 to 159||Borderline High|
|160 to 189||High|
|190 or higher||Very high (definite risk)|
|Less than 40||Low (High Risk)|
|60 or higher||High (Optimal)|
|Less than 150||Optimal Goal|
|Less than 200||Optimal Goal|
|200 to 239||Borderline High|
|240 or higher||High|
Meaning of Cholesterol Numbers
Having your cholesterol checked to determine the range of where the cholesterol level falls is an important step to better health!
A good rule to follow is that any “total” cholesterol reading below 200 is good and anything over 240 indicates that you are at risk for developing coronary disease. In addition, your LDL cholesterol should measure below 130 and your HDL cholesterol should range between 35 and 40. When the HDL, or “good” cholesterol, reaches 60 or higher, you actually have the benefit of reducing your chance of heart attack.
Not everyone is thrilled about having blood drawn, but bear in mind that this particular test is quite simple and very inexpensive. To get accurate results, be sure to have the test performed by a qualified physician. Using portable devices or home-based kits often times produce inaccurate results.
Some things will alter the test and not provide a true reading. If any of the items listed below apply to you, be sure you notify your physician and lab technician before your blood is drawn:
- Exercise immediately preceding the test
- Certain medications
- Recent surgery
To get the best cholesterol reading possible, there is some preparation involved:
- Do not eat or drink anything other than water for a minimum of 14-16 hours before the test is done
- Do not exercise before blood is drawn
- Get plenty of rest before the test.
What Are The Ideal Cholesterol Levels?
A variety of healthy cholesterol levels in humans is less than 200mg/dl. These figures are the normal values. It is important to the total amount of HDL cholesterol. The ideal ratio of LDL-HDL ratio was 4.4:1. You can make sure your own situation by this simple calculation: Divide the goal of LDL-cholesterol by the HDL. If this ratio is underneath 4.4, you should try to increase the HDL increased by exercise.
A fit person should contain their blood profile done on a regular origin. The American Heart Association advises testing each five years for 20 years or more. Your doctor may prescribe a cholesterol test for the young if they are overweight or have other danger factors like hypertension and smoking. If you smoke, the more you smoke the harder to stop this unnecessary habit. However, you should try to stop immediately. Watch some pictures on bad effects of smoking. His heart is in danger because smoking causes the blood to oxidize LDL, oxidized LDL cholesterol and sign in the arteries of the forms as soon. This information is not new to many smokers to make a wise decision itself.
Some of the belongings that cause high cholesterol is obesity and excessive alcohol consumption. Some genetic diseases and hereditary factors are also factors. To stay in healthy diet rich in cholesterol width, which is low in saturated fats, is recommended. A smaller amount than 7% of daily calories should approach from saturated fats, which are egg yolks, beef, cheese, pork and poultry. Total fat intake has a stronger position than is serum cholesterol. Type of fat you eat is essential.
Plant foods like walnuts and flaxseed, which contains healthy cholesterol, such as compounds called phytosterols. Most nutrition experts recommend that 25-30% of total calories should approach from fat, but vegetable oil, and greasy fish are the most excellent choices for fat in the diet.
Good Cholesterol Foods
Some experts believe that the best way to lower your bad cholesterol LDL is to consume good cholesterol foods, or foods that naturally tend to bump up our HDL levels.
Here is a highlight of top 9 good cholesterol foods:
- Freshly squeezed orange juice is your number one example on how to lower cholesterol naturally due to their high antioxidant content, vitamin C, fiber and bioflavonoids. Try making your own juice fresh as the effect from the store-bough varieties is just not the same.
- Cocoa is a powerhouse of antioxidants flavonols and micro-elements but only raw unsweetened cocoa should be used to get the maximum of its cholesterol lowering properties. Most commercial cocoa and hot chocolate drinks are loaded with sugar, artificial ingredients and have very little benefits.
- If you are looking for good cholesterol foods do not overlook the eggs. Eggs are one of the best foods that lower cholesterol levels of the world contrary to a popular belief that people with high cholesterol should steer clear of them. They are loaded with healthy Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and nutrients. Take special care to not overcook eggs not to damage its vital protein structure.
- Fish and shellfish should also be among your good cholesterol foods, they contain the most bio-available animal sources of Omega 3 fatty acids that help increase your HDL counts. Prawns cholesterol is not fully absorbed by the intestines and can not raise our LDL levels contributing to heart disease. On the contrary, prawns along with other seafood should be on your list of foods that lower cholesterol levels.
- Garlic has long been valued for its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral abilities, now it is also among good cholesterol foods. A powerful antioxidant prevents cholesterol from being oxidized, raises HDL count keeping our arteries clean.
- An onion a day will keep your high cholesterol levels away. Raw onions tossed in salads and on sandwiches with its sulfur compounds are a proven way to raise your good cholesterol levels.
- Green tea is also among good cholesterol foods that contain high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols that actually block the absorption of cholesterol by our bodies.
- Avocados contain unsaturated fats helping you lower your overall cholesterol count and raise good cholesterol levels.
- Quinoa is high in fiber and protein and will help you feel full longer, stabilize your digestion process speeding up your fat metabolism.
The information provided herein is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions.