The Good, The Bad and Healthy Cholesterol Levels
It is common knowledge that too much cholesterol is bad for the health, but it is important to understand what the ideal cholesterol levels are. There are basically two kinds of cholesterol – the good and the bad.
You may have noticed whenever you get a cholesterol screening that you are given two numbers, which represent each of the two types of cholesterol. The ideal levels have a higher number for the good cholesterol and a lower number for the bad cholesterol.
The Bad Cholesterol – LDL
This type of cholesterol, also known as LDL or low density lipoproteins, is the one that we don’t want in our bodies. Of course, we can’t completely eliminate it because it is naturally contained in many food products. However, we want to limit our body’s LDL level to not more than 100.
Some easy ways to accomplish this include a healthy diet, including staying away from foods that are high in saturated or trans fats, getting plenty of exercise, and minimizing alcohol drinking and smoking. You can also help to lower cholesterol with natural cholesterol lowering supplements.
The Good Cholesterol – HDL
HDL or high density lipoproteins are the good cholesterol — these are the ones we want more of. Ideal cholesterol levels for HDL would be a number higher than 60. The higher your HDL, the lower your risk for heart attacks and other serious health problems. In addition to proper diet and regular exercise, studies show that HDL levels may be increased by drinking green tea and red wine, as well as eating dark chocolate, all in moderation of course.
The Cholesterol Reading
As soon as the individual counts for LDL and HDL have been determined, your doctor will be able to tell you what your total cholesterol reading is. The ideal cholesterol levels for this combined reading should not exceed 200. If you get a number between 200 and 240, you are said to be at low risk for high cholesterol problems. But if your number is higher than 240, you are already at high risk and should take action right away.
Knowing Where You Stand
If you have the numbers for your LDL, HDL and total cholesterol, it would be easy to know where you stand as compared to the rest of the population. To do this, just divide your total cholesterol count by your HDL count in order to get a cholesterol ratio.
Your ideal cholesterol levels should give a ratio of 3.5:1. If the ratio is higher than 5:1, then you might be in trouble. Now that you understand what your cholesterol count means, you should be able to determine whether you are in good shape or if you need to do something fast in order to go back to healthy cholesterol levels.