High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is the scientific term for “good” cholesterol. If you have recently undergone lipid profile tests and are wondering what that LDL (Low-density lipoproteins) and HDL numbers mean for you, here’s some help from the experts. LDL levels should ideally be within 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) range and HDL at about 60 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) but do consult a medical professional who is aware of your particular case since results for people might vary.

Cholesterol is a fatty, wax-like substance that is produced by the liver. The main purpose of HDLs is to help keep the bad cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins or LDLs) away from your arteries and back to your liver where it’s metabolized and passed out from your body.

Cholesterol is essential for the creation of cell walls, hormones, and digestive juices. We also need it for mood improvement and emotional well-being. HDL can halt and reverse atherosclerosis ( the buildup of plaque in your arteries) which is known to increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. HDLs also assist in antioxidation, protect against thrombosis, maintain endothelial function and low blood viscosity.

Experts recommend that a healthy balance is maintained to minimize the risks of developing coronary artery disease (CAD), transient ischemic attack (TIA) and peripheral arterial disease. Factors that would contribute to these complications would include leading a sedentary lifestyle, overall lack of physical activity, improper diet, smoking, obesity and drinking large amounts of alcohol. Genetics too could play a very big role in this.

Fortunately, a few things can be done to change this diagnosis:

  • Removal or reduction of trans-fats from your diet can drastically improve your chances of achieving healthy cholesterol scores.
  • Weight reduction plays a huge role in health improvement. Experts hold that even a small drop in weight can do wonders to cut back on your LDL levels.
  • Exercising for half an hour a day, five days a week can raise HDL levels and lower LDL levels. Even light exercises are fine, they don’t have to be hectic ones.
  • Eat foods that are high in fiber like apples, oats, and beans. These foods guard your system against absorbing cholesterol.
  • Add fish to your diet a few times a week. Omega-3 fats in fish are good for your heart. Wild salmon, tuna, and sardines are excellent options. For best results, bake or grill to avoid unhealthy fats.
  • Nuts are a good inclusion for a heart-healthy diet. Walnuts, almonds, peanuts and pistachios in moderate amounts are good snack options. Be sure to choose the unsalted and unsweetened varieties.
  • Stress is bad for mental as well as physical wellbeing so make sure to treat yourself to plenty of relaxation time. Meditating, reading a comforting book or just taking a few leisurely strolls among nature can work wonders in bringing down your stress levels.

Bad cholesterol is manageable and treatable provided the right actions are implemented at the right time. Take care of your health today, don’t wait for things to go from bad to worse. Draw up a lifestyle plan that puts you on the right track to beat this condition and do remember to check your cholesterol levels every couple of years.

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