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When you think of cholesterol, you probably think of “bad” or high cholesterol. But there’s also a “good” type of cholesterol that your body needs.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is the good kind of cholesterol and the kind you want. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the bad kind of cholesterol and the kind you want to keep in check. HDL, LDL, and triglycerides — a type of fat carried in the blood — make up total cholesterol levels.
HDL is like a vacuum cleaner for cholesterol in the body. When it’s at healthy levels in your blood, it removes extra cholesterol and plaque buildup in your arteries and then sends it to your liver. Your liver expels it from your body. Ultimately, this helps reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Keep reading to learn more about HD and what foods you should be eating to raise your HDL ratio in relation to total cholesterol. –
What are good HDL levels?
The American Heart Associationrecommends getting a cholesterol blood test by age 20. It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about getting one sooner if you’re at risk for heart conditions or overweight or obese.
An ideal HDL levelTrusted Source is 60 milligrams/deciliter (mg/dL) or above. Your HDL is considered low if it’s below 40 mg/dL. You should aim to have an HDL level between 40 and 60 mg/dL, but over 60 mg/dL is optimal.
Eating the right foods can help you reduce your bad cholesterol and improve your good cholesterol, but it’s not the only thing you should be doing to reach your desired levels. Here are some other steps you can take:
Daily exercise is one of the best natural ways to boost your HDL. One of the benefits of exercise could be weight loss. Reducing your weight can help raise your HDL and lower your LDL cholesterol levels.
Emerging research is finding that your gut flora or microbiome influences your cholesterol levels and heart disease risk. Adding probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and fermented foods to your daily diet is a good idea.