We’ve all heard of cholesterol, but do we actually know what cholesterol is? Most people realize that high cholesterol is a bad thing, but they’re not sure of why.
Are you one of these people? Would you like to learn a little more about cholesterol and its effect on the body? If so, this article is just for you. We’re going to discuss the details below.
Types of Cholesterol
There are two different types of cholesterol, both of which possess their own characteristics. These two types of cholesterol are known as HDL and LDL. When added together, they equal total cholesterol.
Let’s get into the specifics below.
Standing for “high-density lipoprotein,” HDL cholesterol serves the function of preventing fat from accumulating in the arteries. Of the two cholesterols in the body, this one is considered to be the beneficial one.
The higher your levels of HDL cholesterol, the greater job your body is doing of resisting cardiovascular disease.
Standing for “low-density lipoprotein,” LDL cholesterol is simply bad news. This type of cholesterol forms in the arteries, causing them to block up and clog. Over time, an excess of LDL cholesterol can lead to heart disease.
The lower your levels of LDL cholesterol, the more you are resistant to cardiovascular complications.
Total cholesterol is quite simply all cholesterol that exists in your body, both good and bad. This is the sum of HDL and LDL cholesterol.
Are Your Cholesterol Levels Bad?
At the very least, you should have your cholesterol levels checked every 5 years. When checked, each of your cholesterols will be given a rating. Each different type of cholesterol works on a different scale, which we will discuss in detail below.
HDL cholesterol is simple: if your HDL cholesterol reading is over 60, your cholesterol is high (this is a good thing). If it’s between 40 and 60, it’s average. If it’s less than 40, it’s too low, and should be addressed as soon as possible.
LDL cholesterol is a little more complex. Anything over 190 is considered to be very high (this is a bad thing). Anything between 160 and 189 is considered to be high. A reading between 130 and 159 bridges the gap between high and average.
Safe levels of cholesterol are between 100 and 129. Ideally, your LDL cholesterol levels will be below 100.
To simplify cholesterol readings, LDL and HDL cholesterol are added to make total cholesterol. Ideal total cholesterol levels are below 200. Mildly high levels fall between 200 and 239. Very high levels are 240 or higher.
Regulating Your Cholesterol
To regulate your cholesterol, there are a number of things you can do. Engaging in the following will do the most to ensure your cardiovascular health.
Eat the Right Foods
If you’re looking to lower your total cholesterol, it’s recommended that you eat a healthy and balanced diet. Some foods that work to reduce total cholesterol readings include nuts, beans, and dark chocolate.
Exercise is also very important in lowering LDL and total cholesterol levels. Generally, cardiovascular exercise such as bicycling or jogging is the way to go.
Another great way to regulate your cholesterol levels is with daily supplements. When taking supplements, you don’t have to worry as much about whether or not you’re eating the proper foods through your normal diet.
This isn’t to say that you should stop eating such foods. It just means that you can be a little more laid-back about working them into your meals.
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