Here Is How You Can Maintain Healthy Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol is often considered as unhealthy by most people; however, this is only partially true. Cholesterol is not fat; it is a waxy substance present in the body, which is essential for the body to function properly. Cholesterol is an important substance your body needs; however, too much of cholesterol can cause several illnesses and diseases. Your body makes its own cholesterol and one of the major source of cholesterol inside your body is your liver. The rest of the cholesterol comes from the foods you eat. Foods that give you cholesterol include full-fat dairy products, meat, and poultry. Cholesterol that comes from the food you eat is called dietary cholesterol. The foods that cause cholesterol are high in trans and saturated fats as well. When the liver produces more cholesterol than required, it becomes bad cholesterol.
As mentioned before, cholesterol is an important substance for the body to have; however, increased levels of bad cholesterol can cause health problems. This makes it important for you to have your cholesterol levels tested on a regular basis. There are two types of cholesterol—high-density lipoprotein (HDL cholesterol) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol). HDL cholesterol is the good cholesterol your body needs, while LDL cholesterol is the bad cholesterol. Having high levels of LDL cholesterol or low levels of HDL cholesterol causes many illnesses as the bad cholesterol starts building up in the walls of your arteries. This can lead to heart conditions and strokes.
It is also important to learn certain things about HDL and LDL cholesterol levels chart. The purpose for getting the cholesterol levels checked is to detect the risk of any cardiovascular disease. If there are any chances of getting a sudden heart attack of a stroke, a cholesterol levels chart will help indicate the same.
Understanding a cholesterol levels chart
The requirement of cholesterol levels change with age. Kids will have different requirements of cholesterol levels in their blood, while adults will have a different requirement. Adults are usually advised to check their cholesterol levels every four to six years. 20 is usually the perfect age to start getting the cholesterol levels checked. Since men are generally at higher risk of having increased cholesterol levels, they should get their cholesterol levels checked more often. In women, the cholesterol levels can rise after they hit menopause. This makes it important for them to check for the same more often post their menopause.
A HDL and LDL cholesterol levels chart will have a count of total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. These will be measured under the criteria of good, bad, high, and low. For an adult, an acceptable HDL and LDL cholesterol levels chart would show HDL cholesterol to be around 40 mg/dL (milligram per deciliter) or higher. LDL cholesterol should be less than 100 mg/dL for a decent cholesterol levels chart. Triglycerides are usually below 149 mg/dL on an HDL cholesterol chart.
For children, the total cholesterol level should be around 170 mg/dL or less. HDL cholesterol level is good when its 45 or less, LDL cholesterol should be around 110 mg/dL or less, and triglycerides should be less than 75 mg/dL. However, for kids aged between 10 and 19, the triglycerides levels should be less than 90 mg/dL.
The HDL and LDL cholesterol ratio is another measurement of your cholesterol levels. The ratio tells you more about what steps you need to take to balance your cholesterol levels well. The cholesterol ratio tells you the measurement of HDL and LDL cholesterol in your body.
Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels
Incorporating certain lifestyle changes will help you improve your cholesterol levels. Healthy changes will help you maintain healthy cholesterol levels without any medicines. If you have been put on medication by your doctor, you can continue the medicines along with the healthy changes.
For a healthy lifestyle, you can start eating heart healthy foods. Moving from saturated fats to unsaturated fats is one of the ways of incorporating a healthy diet. Saturated fat is found in red meat, pork, and chicken products. Dairy products including butter, shortening, and cheese have saturated fat as well. When you follow a diet that is high in saturated fat, you let the LDL cholesterol levels in your body rise.
Unsaturated fats are found in foods such as vegetables, olives, nuts, and seeds. Some fish too contain unsaturated fats. This type of fat is healthy for your body and can help you increase your HDL cholesterol and lower your LDL cholesterol.
Eliminating trans fats from your diet can help you maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Fried foods, processed foods, and other commercial products such as crackers, cookies, chips, and cakes contain high levels of trans fats.
Adding omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fibers, and whey protein to your diet will help you maintain your cholesterol effectively and make you healthy overall.
Other than diet, it is important that you exercise on a daily basis. Any form of conscious physical activity will add to your good health, rather quickly. If you have any unhealthy habits, such as smoking or drinking alcohol, quitting them will drastically improve your cholesterol levels and overall health.
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