“What are good cholesterol levels?” This is a question that many people ask, and they really have no idea that there actually is such a thing as good cholesterol.
Most people have heard cholesterol being demonized, as their friends say, “I have to lower my cholesterol or else…”
However, the truth is that your body does need cholesterol, as it is responsible for strengthening the structure of the cells in your body, regulating your hormones, and much more.
It is only when the cholesterol gets too high that problems start setting in, so controlling the levels of cholesterol is important.
There are bad and good cholesterol levels, and here you will learn what you need to know about your good cholesterol and how to get it as high as possible:
HDL is the good cholesterol that your body needs to function, as its main function is to control the levels of bad cholesterol.
When the intestines absorb too much of the bad cholesterol, it starts to circulate in the blood and cause problems. The HDL cholesterol goes out and corrals all the bad cholesterol, sends it back to the intestines, and makes sure that it goes out the body’s waste disposal system.
When your HDL cholesterol is doing its job, you should have no worries about high cholesterol.
Problems begin when the balance between good and bad cholesterol gets out of sync, and this is when you should start to be concerned.
If your HDL cholesterol levels get too low, there isn’t enough to get rid of the bad cholesterol.
If your LDL cholesterol levels get too high, your HDL cholesterol isn’t going to be able to keep up with all the particles floating around.
For this reason, it is so important that you take care of your body by keeping your HDL cholesterol levels as high as possible and your LDL cholesterol levels as low as possible.
What are Good Cholesterol Levels: Things You Need to Know About Your Good Cholesterol
Here are a few things that you need to know about HDL cholesterol:
- Your total cholesterol is usually comprised of between 20 and 30 percent HDL cholesterol. Any less than 20 percent HDL, and your body will begin to have high cholesterol problems.
- Even a 5-point drop in your HDL cholesterol can actually increase your chance of having heart problems by as much as 25% — a significant increase for those that have a history of heart conditions.
- HDL is the lipid factor that is most closely related to the risk of heart problems. LDL cholesterol can go up without increasing the risk of heart disorders significantly, but even a minor drop in HDL cholesterol can drastically increase your chance of having heart problems.
- Women will usually have more HDL in their body than men do, though they will usually be the same once the woman has gone through menopause.
- Healthy HDL cholesterol levels are higher than 60. If HDL cholesterol dips below 59, you are increasing the chance of heart problems. If your HDL cholesterol levels are lower than 40, you are at a serious risk of having a problem with your heart.
- Many doctors believe that genetics have a good deal to do with the levels of HDL cholesterol in your body, meaning that some people automatically have a lower level of HDL cholesterol than others. These people are at a higher risk of heart problems and should place more importance on keeping their HDL cholesterol levels high.
As you can see, your HDL cholesterol is very important, so it is in your best interest to keep it as high as possible. If you don’t, you may find your cholesterol getting out of hand much more quickly than you would like.
How to Boost Your Good Cholesterol
The good news is that it isn’t too difficult to boost your good cholesterol, though it will take some changes in your habits and lifestyle in order to keep your HDL cholesterol high.
Here are some things that you can do to get your good cholesterol levels as high as possible:
- Stop Smoking – Smoking is one of the worst things that you can do if you are serious about staying healthy. Smoking not only weakens the walls of your arteries—making it easier for the bad cholesterol to cause cracks – but it lowers your good cholesterol AND makes it easier for the bad cholesterol to stick to the arterial walls.
- Cut Back Drinking – If you have more than three or four drinks per day, you will probably find that your HDL cholesterol is very low and your LDL cholesterol is very high.
But: However, did you know that having one drink per day – red wine is the best – is a great way to boost HDL production in your body? Cutting back drinking to a single drink – two at most – can help to raise your HDL cholesterol.
- Eat Soy Products or Any Kind of Beans and Lenses– Eg Soy is an excellent protein that is high in amino acids and very low in fat. However, it can also help to boost your HDL cholesterol by as much as 3%.
This small increase in HDL cholesterol can cause a reduction in your risk of heart problems by up to 5%, and all with just three small servings of soy in any form on a daily basis.
- Aerobic or Cardio Exercise – Doing exercise can help to lower your LDL cholesterol, as it burns up the fat and cholesterol particles in your blood. However, doing aerobic exercise can also help to boost HDL cholesterol, which is why doctors recommend at least 30 minutes of vigorous aerobics or cardio per day.
- Drink Orange Juice or Other Juices and Shakes– Orange juice and juices made of eg carrots and blueberries are very rich in Vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that can help to prevent the bad cholesterol from hardening on your arterial walls. However, the Vitamin C can also help to boost your HDL cholesterol as well, and one study showed that three glasses of vitamin C rich juice daily helped to increase HDL cholesterol by 21% in just three short weeks.
Use these tips to help you get your HDL cholesterol levels back up to where they should be.