You may have seen different advertisements for cooking oils and food products emphasizing the importance of consuming healthy cholesterol. But what exactly is cholesterol, and how does it impact your health? Cholesterol is a chemical that your body needs to make different hormones, vitamin D, and other essential substances. However, high cholesterol levels in your blood put you at risk of certain medical issues, including heart disease and stroke. Read this blog to find out the difference between good and bad cholesterol and learn healthy tips to keep their levels in check.
What Is The Difference Between Good And Bad Cholesterol?
Your blood has special proteins called lipoproteins that carry and transfer cholesterol throughout the body. They have two main types: LDL and HDL.
LDL (low-density lipoprotein) makes up a major percentage of your body’s total cholesterol. Increased levels of LDL cholesterol raise your risk for heart disease and stroke because they can build up as thick plaques on the walls of your arteries, causing arterial wall damage and blood flow restriction. For this reason, it is also called “bad” cholesterol.
On the other hand, HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is known as the “good” cholesterol because it absorbs excess cholesterol in the blood and transfers it back to the liver. The liver then processes it and flushes the excess levels from your body. High levels of HDL cholesterol can improve heart health by preventing arterial wall damage and improving blood flow.
How Can I Check My Cholesterol Levels?
The best way to monitor your cholesterol levels is to have a blood test. Your doctor may recommend a lipid profile test, which measures the total amount of cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides in your blood.
As a general rule, the lower your LDL and triglycerides, and the higher your HDL, the better. Average healthy values of cholesterol among adults are:
- Total cholesterol: Less than 200 mg/dL
- LDL cholesterol: Less than 100 mg/dL
- HDL cholesterol: 60 mg/dL or higher
- Triglycerides: Less than 150 mg/dL
How Can I Manage The Levels of Good And Bad Cholesterol In My Body?
Many lifestyle changes can improve your cholesterol levels, helping you maintain good heart health. Some helpful tips to improve good cholesterol and control bad cholesterol include:
- Eat a balanced diet that has low levels of saturated fat, trans fat, added sugar, and salt.
- Choose more nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc., and limit the intake of red meat, processed foods, baked goods, fried foods, and alcohol.
- Engage in high-intensity physical activities, such as brisk walking, cycling, swimming, etc., that increase your heart rate.
- Maintain a healthy body weight that is suitable for your age, height, and body type.
- Avoid smoking and frequent alcohol consumption.
- Manage stress in healthy ways. Try different methods like meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises to help you relax.
- Get routine health checkups to monitor your cholesterol levels and consult a healthcare expert if the levels are above range.
Cholesterol is essential for your health, but having too much bad cholesterol or too little good cholesterol can put you at a high risk for heart disease and stroke. By maintaining your cholesterol levels and making healthy lifestyle choices, you can protect your heart health for years to come.
If you or a loved one are suffering from cholesterol-related issues or other health problems, visit Family Diagnostic Clinic to consult with our professionals. You can also call us at 281-351-6800 to schedule your appointment.