At a glance
- Good HDL cholesterol protects against heart disease, while bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides increase your risk of it.
- To keep your cholesterol levels healthy, choose foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and high in fibre, lean proteins, fruit and vegetables.
- Regular exercise, losing weight if you need to, and stopping smoking can all help to keep your cholesterol levels low.
Lowering your cholesterol
As many as one in six of us has high cholesterol. And left unchecked, it can lead to heart disease and strokes. But the good news is that a few simple lifestyle changes can help to boost your good cholesterol numbers and lower your bad ones — and help you to stay healthy. In this fact sheet you can learn how cholesterol works, and what you can do to ensure your levels are as healthy as possible.
Good and bad cholesterol
HDL cholesterol, or high-density lipoproteins, is good cholesterol. HDL protects against heart disease, and the higher your number, the better.
LDL cholesterol, or low-density lipoproteins, is bad cholesterol. LDL increases your risk of heart disease. Too much LDL cholesterol in your blood can build up on the inside walls of your arteries. Over time, this build-up — called plaque — can narrow the space for blood to flow through. Plaque can then break off, causing life-threatening clots that block your blood flow. This can happen in arteries all over your body but is most dangerous in the arteries that feed your heart, brain and other vital organs.
Another type of fat that circulates in your blood is triglycerides. A high level of triglycerides can also raise your heart disease risk. Levels that are borderline high (150 to 199 mg/dL) or high (200 mg/dL or higher) may need treatment in some people.
Calculating your cholesterol levels
Your cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood:
- A desirable level is less than 200 mg/dL.
- A borderline high level is 200-239 mg/dL.
- A high level is 240 mg/dL and above.
When measuring your good, HDL cholesterol level:
- Less than 40 mg/dL is considered low.
- More than 60 mg/dL is considered high.
And when measuring your bad, LDL cholesterol level:
- Less than 100 mg/dL is considered optimal.
- 100-129 mg/dL is considered near/above optimal.
- 130-159 mg/dL is considered borderline high.
- 160-189 mg/dL is considered high.
- 190 mg/dL and above is considered very high.
Healthy habits to lower your cholesterol
One of the key solutions for lowering your cholesterol levels and cutting your risk of heart disease is to eat less high fat, high cholesterol foods. Some ideas to help you lower your cholesterol include:
- Choose foods low in saturated fat — saturated fat boosts your cholesterol level more than anything else in your diet. Foods from animals are highest in saturated fat. They include fatty cuts of meat, chicken or other poultry with skin, whole milk and full fat dairy products, lard, and some vegetable oils like coconut oil, palm kernel oil and palm oils.
- Choose lean proteins — these can take the place of fatty meats and cheeses. Choose fish, skinless poultry, lean meats, dry beans, limited eggs, and nuts. Choose low fat or fat-free dairy products.
- Choose good fats — low fat choices can help you lose weight, if needed, and lower your cholesterol. However, the right fats can actually be good for you. Certain polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can make up to 35% of your total calories. Use them to replace saturated and trans fats. Use olive oil for cooking and baking.
- Choose foods high in fibre — this includes fruit and vegetables, whole grains (e.g. whole wheat, oatmeal, brown and wild rice, barley, buckwheat, bulgur and quinoa) and protein-rich beans (e.g. split peas and lentils, pinto, navy, kidney, black and garbanzo beans).
- Choose foods low in cholesterol — cholesterol is found in food from animals. So try to replace animal foods with healthy, plant-based foods instead.
- Be more physically active — physical activity increases good HDL cholesterol and lowers bad triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. It can also help you lower your blood pressure, lose weight, reduce stress and improve your overall fitness — including that of your heart and blood vessels. Check with your doctor first before increasing your activity level.
- Lose weight if needed — being overweight means that you probably have higher levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, putting you at greater risk of heart disease. If you are overweight, losing even a little weight can help lower bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and raise good HDL cholesterol.
- Stop smoking — don't smoke and avoid secondhand smoke. Smoking increases your risk of heart disease, strokes, heart attacks and cancer.
If lifestyle changes are not enough to control your cholesterol levels, your doctor may prescribe cholesterol-lowering medications in addition to eating a heart healthy diet and increasing physical activity.
Left unchecked, high cholesterol can lead to serious health problems. So take steps today to boost your numbers of good cholesterol and cut your bad cholesterol. And help to lower your risk of heart disease and strokes.So i recommend you that you should follow Regular Health Checkup Packages in every year for disease awareness.