High density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is often referred to as “good” cholesterol because it helps transport and remove other forms of cholesterol from the body. Higher levels of good cholesterol, together with lower levels of total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL) “bad” cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.
L The body makes all the cholesterol it needs, and most of the modifiable sources of cholesterol come from the diet. Therefore, a change in diet can help raise good cholesterol and lower other forms of cholesterol. Other lifestyle modifications may support these efforts.
Here’s what good cholesterol is, how it differs from bad cholesterol, and what foods can help raise it.
What is good cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance called lipid. The liver makes all the cholesterol that the body needs. Inside the body, cholesterol circulates in the blood on two different types of proteins called lipoproteins.
LDL cholesterol makes up most of the cholesterol in the body. This is sometimes referred to as bad cholesterol because very high levels of this substance circulating in the body can increase the risk of heart disease. In contrast, people sometimes call HDL cholesterol “good cholesterol” because high levels of this substance can lower the risk of heart disease.
Why is it good?
HDL cholesterol is called good cholesterol because of the functions it performs in the body. As it circulates in the blood, it helps eliminate other forms of cholesterol by absorbing them and transporting them to the liver. The liver can then process the cholesterol for use or eliminate it from the body as waste. This process helps prevent the extra cholesterol from attaching to the lining of the arteries and turning into plaque. Plaque is a mixture of cholesterol and other fatty substances that attach to the walls of the arteries. Over time, it can build up and cause the opening of the arteries to narrow (atherosclerosis).
Atherosclerosis is a risk factor for serious complications. The narrowing of the arteries can lead to risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure. Also, narrow arteries can be more sensitive to blood clots, which can put a person at risk for serious events like a heart attack or stroke. The combination of lowering total cholesterol and maintaining high HDL cholesterol levels may help reduce this risk and prevent cardiovascular disease.
What’s the difference with ” bad ”cholesterol?
The terms“ good ”and“ bad ”are useful in explaining the functions of cholesterol. Both types of cholesterol work in the body when they are balanced. Cholesterol helps the body make new cell membranes. It is also important for the manufacture of vitamin D and certain hormones, such as sex hormones and the stress hormone, cortisol. The liver also uses cholesterol to make bile, which digests fat. LDL cholesterol is bad because it builds up as plaque inside the arteries. It is therefore not necessary to add LDL cholesterol. High LDL puts a person at risk for atherosclerosis, a major risk factor for heart disease. On the other hand, high levels of good cholesterol can reduce the risk of heart disease.
What is good LDL cholesterol?
Cholesterol does not have symptoms per se, which is why it is important to undergo regular cholesterol checks.
A lipid profile test can show levels of :
– total cholesterol
– triglycerides or fats in the blood
– LDL cholesterol
– HDL cholesterol
For HDL cholesterol, a higher figure indicates a lower risk of heart disease. Low (unwanted) HDL cholesterol is anything less than 40 milligrams per deciliter (mg / dl). A level between 40 and 60 mg / dl is normal, while a level of 60 mg / dl or more indicates high HDL cholesterol (desirable).
List of foods that promote healthy cholesterol
Foods that can promote healthy cholesterol are those that are:
– lower in saturated fat
– higher in unsaturated fat
– rich in fiber beneficial for the heart
Foods high in fiber
Foods high in fiber are healthy for the heart and can help manage cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber in the diet reduces the absorption of cholesterol and bile acids that the liver uses to make cholesterol.
Foods naturally high in fiber include :
– psyllium husk
– beans such as lentils, beans and peas
– whole grains
Choosing unsaturated fats can help prevent and manage high LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol.
Foods high in unsaturated fat are as follows
– nuts and seeds
– vegetable oils such as ‘olive oil and sunflower oil
– oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring.
Other foods to change
Additionally, a person may have an interest in avoiding foods that increase bad cholesterol. Better to choose foods low in:
– saturated fat
– trans fat
– added sugars
It is also better to avoid trans fats and saturated fats such as those found in products of animal origin, in particular:
– processed meats
– meats high fat reds
– high fat dairy products like cheese
– Tropical vegetable oils that are solid at room temperature may also be higher in saturated fat, such as coconut oil and palm oil.
Opt for lean or low-fat products instead. low in fat, like:
– lean meats
– skinless poultry
– whole grains
– fruits and vegetables.
Other tips for increase the “bo n »cholesterol
Although higher HDL cholesterol levels are linked to decreased cardiovascular risk, clinical trials that increase HDL levels have not shown results in the reduction of this risk. The ratio of HDL cholesterol to LDL cholesterol may be greater because HDL cholesterol can only transport a certain amount of cholesterol to the liver. HDL cholesterol only carries about one-third to one-quarter of the cholesterol in the blood.
This is why interventions for cholesterol problems usually involve methods aimed at to reduce LDL cholesterol first. It can improve the balance between HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in the body.
The right strategies to improve cholesterol balance
– Do regular physical exercise: Physical activity can help increase good cholesterol and reduce triglycerides in the blood.
– Maintain a moderate weight: Maintain a healthy moderate weight can help improve cholesterol balance and other modifiable risk factors for heart disease.
– Quitting smoking: Smoking increases many risk factors for heart disease, such as damage to blood vessels, hardening of the arteries and lowering of HDL cholesterol.
– Limiting alcohol consumption: Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol can increase triglycerides and cholesterol . It is therefore necessary to strive to drink moderately, by not consuming more than 2 glasses per day for men and 1 glass per day for women. Drinking in moderation can also increase good HDL cholesterol.
In addition, finding ways to manage stress can be important. Too much stress can increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increase LDL cholesterol levels.
Here are some stress relieving activities:
– breathing exercises type “cardiac rancid”
– movement activities like yoga or tai chi
– get enough sleep every night
The best treatment to lower blood pressure cholesterol level involves a variety of different methods, including lifestyle, physical activity, diet, and anti-stress practices. Remember, a doctor is the best person to talk to about the best way to lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.
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