The Dark and Healthy Side of Cholesterol

Bad cholesterol Cholesterol

The World Health Organization listed Iceland, Andorra, Luxembourg, Germany, Denmark, United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Italy, France, Norway and Netherlands as countries that has the highest prevalence of cholesterol among its population among countries all over the world. In the second level, came countries like Austria, Australia and the US. The country which has the lowest level of cholesterol among its population is Niger which is at 15.2 contrasting Iceland’s 69.8.

Although cholesterol is needed by the body, the prevalence of its bad side in the health system may result to some serious medical conditions.

Cholesterol or the soft and waxy lipid is naturally found in the blood stream and the body cells. It cannot be dissolved by the blood but is important in cell membrane production and in some hormone production.

SO if cholesterol is helping in the body production of cell membranes and hormones, why is it labeled and avoided by majority of the population? Because cholesterol has a bad side and it’s in the form of LDL, and the good side which is the HDL.

Cholesterol Prevalence

1 in every 6 Americans has high total cholesterol. And 1 in 3 adult Americans have unhealthy levels of the bad cholesterol. But cholesterol level can be a bit of a thief in the night since it offers no symptoms. Many people are always unaware that they have it only to know later when they have been diagnosed of a far risky medical condition such as heart problems, diabetes or high blood pressure.

And more often, women are more prone to high cholesterol level than men according to numbers.

Good and the bad definition are used to label two types of cholesterol that is the LDL and the HDL.

Bad Cholesterol

The Low-density lipoprotein or the LDL is the commonly known as the bad cholesterol.  When there is too much LDL in the blood, it can build up in the inner walls of the arteries. And with other substances, it can build up and form a plaque. The plaque is the thick deposit that narrows arteries and making them stiff and less flexible. A clot then can likely form and block the narrowed artery which can result to heart attack or stroke.

The amount of LDL in your blood is increased by the saturated fat and the cholesterol you consume.

Good Cholesterol

The High-density lipoprotein or the commonly known as HDL is the good cholesterol. HDL, opposite to LDL, helps protect a person from heart attack. But once your HDL go low, you find yourself at risk of heart disease. Medical experts say that HDL carries away cholesterol from the arteries back to the liver. When it reaches the level, it will be flushed away from the body. It is even purported to remove the excess cholesterol in the arterial plaque and can slow down its build up.

Recommended Cholesterol Level

The total cholesterol level that is desirable for the body is below 200. Once it is more than that, it can be unhealthy. The optimal LDL that your body should have should only be at below 100mmol/L. for HDL, you should have 60 or even higher. Once you have your HDL at below 40, then you should start doing some things to raise it.

The Good and the Bad

The foods that are rich in HDL, which you should increase in your diet, include all foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 rich foods include flax seed, oily fish such as tuna, mackerel and salmon. Foods with fiber such as grain, oats, bran and soy are recommended as well.

On the other hand, foods that are rich in Trans fat should be avoided. They include white sugar and flour, eggs, kidney, dairy such as cheese and alcohol.

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