When it comes to cholesterol, there’s a lot of information rolling around out there. It can be a bit confusing. There’s bad cholesterol, but also good cholesterol? Having no cholesterol seems like a good thing to some people, but it’s crucial to helping build appropriate healthy cells.
The truth about cholesterol is that you want to have an appropriate level of healthy cholesterol floating through the bloodstream. Sometimes however, people may find that they have high cholesterol. This can lead to fat being deposited in blood vessels and arteries, which potentially can cause a stroke or heart attack. The good news about high cholesterol is that it’s usually self inflicted through a person’s lifestyle choices. This means that there’s ways to reduce cholesterol to proper healthy levels.
What is a High Cholesterol Level?
The type of cholesterol that is concerning can be low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. This is simply referred to as LDL cholesterol. This is the type that can build up in the walls of the arteries, potentially causing problems. High-density lipoprotein is beneficial to the body because it finds excess cholesterol and returns it to the liver.
In order to understand cholesterol, you need to understand the measurements. Cholesterol is measured in mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). Overall combined measurements should ideally be below 200. 200-239 is considered moderately high, and over 240 is considered high. LDL levels are the problem and should ideally be below 100. 100-190 can be considered high depending on the health condition of the person involved. HDL should be kept up. A score over 60 is a good level for HDL, while lower than 40 is a high risk factor for potential heart diseases.
How to Lower Your Cholesterol Through Diet
Quite simply, cholesterol can get a little out of control sometimes. It’s not always easy for people to get their cholesterol down to appropriate levels. The first step is usually some changes in diet.
Getting rid of saturated-fats and trans-fats from a diet is a good start. These fats tend to raise LDL cholesterol heavily. Trans-fats will raise overall levels of cholesterol very quickly. Many items that are high in trans-fats are actually being banned from production in the next few years.
While it’s important to cut out some fats, it’s also smart to increase fiber. This can increase how cholesterol is absorbed when it’s in the as well as foods that are high in omega-r fatty acids. While those don’t directly reduce cholesterol, they do have other benefits to heart health, which can counteract higher levels of cholesterol a little bit.
Other Lifestyle Changes
There are several other things that can be done to help reduce cholesterol levels that have risen too high. Most of them involve overall health and are smart choices regardless of whether or not you have high cholesterol. Some of the lifestyle options that should be considered include:
- Quitting Smoking - This is one of the best things people can do for their health at any time. What’s amazing is how fast quitting smoking can turn around a person’s health.
- Physical Activity - Ideally, a person with higher cholesterol should try to exercise almost every day if possible. 20-30 minutes of exercise per day (depending on intensity) can make a big difference. Obviously, speak with your doctor before considering or trying any exercise regime.
- Maintaining a Healthy Weight - For people who are above a healthy weight, losing some of it can really help. Take steps to avoid the things that can increase your weight like high sugar drinks.