Good Cholesterol Vs. Bad Cholesterol

Nuts are an excellent source of good cholesterol (HDL)

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in our cells. Cholesterol is essentially not bad for the body as many might think. Cholesterol helps in the production of various hormones, vitamins and other components that keep our body functioning properly.

Cholesterol is divided into two types that help us understand which type of cholesterol we should be concerned about. In this article, we discuss the difference between these two types and what we need to do to maintain the correct levels.

What are the types of cholesterol?

As stated above, there are 2 types of cholesterol. There are LDL and HDL cholesterol. LDL stands for low density lipoproteins while HDL stands for high density lipoproteins.

What is the difference between LDL and HDL?

There are different degrees of difference between LDL and HDL. Here are the common differences between bad and good cholesterol:

LDL

LDL stands for low density cholesterol and is considered the bad cholesterol. What makes LDL bad? LDL causes plaque to build up in our arteries. This waxy buildup seriously affects our heart health.

This plaque production restricts blood flow and reduces blood flow to and from the heart. This thickening of the arteries can also lead to high blood pressure due to constriction. Prolonged high LDL can make a person prone to chronic cardiovascular disease such as stroke, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, etc.

HDL

HDL, as mentioned, stands for high density cholesterol. This type of cholesterol is considered “good” for the body. There are various reasons why HDL is considered good for the body. HDL improves our overall health and also helps reduce LDL in the body.

HDL collects LDL from the body and sends it to our liver. Our liver helps remove LDL from our body, thereby reducing our LDL levels. Thus, by lowering our LDL, the good cholesterol (HDL) significantly reduces our risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

How much should our HDL and LDL levels be?

Similar to other components of our body, we can measure and improve HDL and LDL levels in the body. Cholesterol levels can be checked by doing a blood test. These tests can be done on your own or through a clinic/doctor.

This is what normal cholesterol levels should look like:

Total cholesterol: less than 200 mg/dL

LDL cholesterol: less than 100 mg/dL

HDL cholesterol: greater than 40 mg/dL

How to maintain healthy levels of HDL and LDL?

Correct levels of HDL and LDL are essential for heart health and general health. Different factors affect these levels. Certain habits and lifestyle changes can ensure that your cholesterol levels stay under control.

Here are simple ways you can improve your HDL and LDL levels:

1. Avoid foods high in LDL

2. Eat foods high in HDL

3. Exercise regularly

4. Take medication if needed

5. Maintain a healthy weight

6. Quit smoking

7. Reduce alcohol consumption

What’s the takeaway?

Your bad and good cholesterol levels are more important than you think. Managing and improving your cholesterol levels is essential to maintaining a healthy and long life. Doing proper research can help you understand your cholesterol levels. Following a healthy lifestyle by following these tips can help improve your LDL and HDL levels.

Disclaimer: This content, including advice, provides generic information only. It does not in any way replace qualified medical advice. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim any responsibility for this information.

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