The Good and the Bad of Cholesterol

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Lipoproteins carry cholesterol from cell to cell. Low density lipo-protein is known and called the bad cholesterol while the high density lipo-protein is called the good cholesterol. These lipids with the triglycerides and the Lp (a) cholesterol makes up the total cholesterol count in the blood.

And usually, what most people view of cholesterol is just its bad side. How it can lead to serious heart ailments, how it frequent our favorite foods and how it is casted as a villain against our health. Those are true, but certainly there are more to it than what you knew.

Bad Cholesterol

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The prevalence of bad cholesterol in the body can put you at risk of heart disease which can cause death later. You may need cholesterol for some other purposes but once it builds up on the walls of your arteries, it can lead to heart disease and stroke.

In the US, 71 million in the population has a high LDL or bad cholesterol and more than half gets no treatment for it.

The existence of bad cholesterol in your body will not show some symptoms. Many would be unaware that their LDL is too high. The only way to check it is through a visit with your doctor and blood tests. The recommended LDL level is less than 100 mg/dL.

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In the record of WHO, Countries like Iceland, Andorra, Luxembourg, Germany, UK, Ireland, Belgium, Italy, France, Norway and Netherlands have the highest cholesterol levels among the countries in the world. While some countries like the US, Australia and Canada came in the second level range of cholesterol level.

Good Cholesterol

The recommended HDL or good cholesterol level is 60 mg/dL or higher. High level or the right level of HDL helps protect the heart from sudden attacks. This is because HDL carries away from arteries cholesterol and back to the liver. The good cholesterol removes excess cholesterol form the arterial plaque and slows its build up.

The HDL is known to have anti-oxidant molecules that may prevent LDL from changing into lipoprotein. HDL can be increased by exercise while it can be lowered by obesity and smoking. The HDL is even purported to help in body waste disposal, lowering of inflammation and help against Alzheimer’s.

How to Increase the Good ones and Lower the Bad Ones

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There are different steps to make sure that you are living healthy away from the bad gripes of bad cholesterol.

  1. Check with your doctor. Have your blood tested, it’s the best way to know if you’re at risk or not.
  2. If the doctor’s answer is yes, you have more bad cholesterol than good ones, and then you need to plan out some things to be able to remedy it.
  3. Lose weight if you have more than enough. Being obese contributes to the lowered HDL but don’t starve. Losing weight may take time.
  4. Exercise.  Within 2 months of constant exercise, you may find that you’ll increase your HDL. Go for brisk walk, run, bike, or swim. Do some interval training.
  5. Have some healthy fats. Krill oil or fish oil is recommended to benefit cholesterol since it contains omega-3 fatty acids. So better include more fish in your diet or have some supplements. Omega-3 decreases bad cholesterol in the process as well and reduce risk of heart disease.
  6. Have some glass of wine every day. A glass of wine can increase your HDL.
  7. Quit smoking.

So increase the good ones and avoid the bad ones as much as possible. Eat healthy, exercise and supplement wisely.

Image Credit: 1, 2, 3.

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