cholestrol is found naturally in our bodies and is also found in various foods such as meat, butter, milk and eggs. It is a type of lipid or fat that is manufactured by our liver and then transported in the blood around the body to where it is needed. 80% of the cholestrol required by our body to function is made by the liver and we get the other 20% from our diet, the food that we eat. If we consume more cholestrol than our body needs it is harmful because the excess cholestrol is deposited in our arteries which leads to a narrowing of the arteries which puts us at a higher risk of heart disease. There are actually two types of cholestrol found in the blood – good cholestrol and bad cholestrol. It is important that we know what is bad and what is good cholestrol.
What is Good cholestrol?
Good cholestrol is also known as High Density Lipoprotein and consists of a greater amount of protein than fat. Bad cholestrol, also known as Low Density Lipoprotein, is made up of more fat than protein. Bad cholestrol is obviously the harmful cholestrol that builds up in our arteries.
What is good cholestrol used for in our bodies?
Good HDL cholestrol actually enables the body to take excess bad cholestrol out of the arteries to the liver which then deals with the cholestrol and excretes it as a waste product. Good cholestrol therefore protects us from atherosclerosis, narrowing of the arteries, and heart disease caused by atherosclerosis.
Measuring good cholestrol
To get information about your cholestrol level you either need to do a home cholestrol test or visit your doctor. High cholestrol has no symptoms and people only know they have it when they have a blood test. A doctor is able to measure Total cholestrol and your ratio of Total cholestrol to Good HDL cholestrol by doing a simple blood test, some home tests measure both too. To be healthy we need a low Total cholestrol level result and a higher ratio of good cholestrol to total cholestrol. If you find that you have high cholestrol then you will want to reduce your cholestrol level and increase your intake of good cholestrol. Your doctor will be able to advise you on treatment.
What is Good cholestrol found in?
There are many foods which can help raise our good cholestrol levels:-
– Oily fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, herrings and fresh tuna. These fish contain Omega 3 fatty acids which increase your HDL levels.
– Seed oils, such as flax seed oil and linseed oils, pumpkin seeds and walnuts (contain Omega 3).
– Foods rich in soluble fibre such as oats, beans and pulses, fruit and vegetables.
– Wheat grass
We should also start a regime of aerobic exercise which research has shown to raise good cholestrol levels and reduce bad cholestrol levels. Losing weight will also help with lowering our cholestrol levels and weight loss is also beneficial in many other ways. Start a low calorie and low fat diet.
It is important for our health to know as much as we can about what is good cholestrol and how we should increase the level in our blood.