Cholesterol Advice

The Good Cholesterol

When we hear the word cholesterol, we usually consider it as a problem. But cholesterol is an important constituent of our body cell membranes and helps in various body functions.

High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) constitutes about 25 % to 30 % of total blood cholesterol. HDL protects us against heart attacks and other aliments. It is known as the good cholesterol.

HDL binds cholesterol and carries it back to the liver for excretion of re-utilization. It helps to clean up the arteries of cholesterol. As a result HDL is sometimes referred to as good cholesterol.

Usually we are just concerned about lowering cholesterol levels. We simply overlook the fact that good cholesterol is needed by our body without which normal cholesterol levels can not be maintained. Even doctors keep insisting on decreasing the amount of LDL cholesterol while neglecting the good cholesterol.

The level of HDL should at least be 40 mg/DL. HDL molecule consists of lipids, proteins and cholesterol. Regular exercise like jogging and walking tend to increase the level of good cholesterol. On the other hand the level of LDL cholesterol is increased because of obesity, faulty diet and lack of exercise. It is imperative that these factors be addressed in case we wish to optimize the cholesterol profile in our blood.

Other causes such as smoking and an excess of alcohol have an adverse effect on blood cholesterol levels.

Fish is one food group that contributes to an increased level of HDL cholesterol. Fatty fish such as herring, salmon and mackerel contains essential omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids promote an increase of HDL cholesterol and reduce the level of LDL cholesterol. However, fish should be cooked in a manner that is heart healthy. It should not be fried. It should be steamed, poached, baked, grilled, roasted or at the most pan-fried.

Increase  the intake of mono-saturated fats found in  olive oil, canola oil and peanuts which may ultimately increase your HDL level. Of all the drugs available for cholesterol regulation, niacin is most effective for increasing the good cholesterol level. The importance of increasing the level of HDL has attracted the attention of several drug manufacturing companies involved in research for evolving more effective drugs for this purpose.