Cholesterol is a waxy substance found throughout the body. There are two types of cholesterol: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. If your heart doctor has indicated that you have high cholesterol , it means you have more LDL or “bad” cholesterol than is recommended. Reducing LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL or “good” cholesterol can improve overall health and reduce your risk for heart disease.
Understanding Good Cholesterol
Bad cholesterol can build up inside your blood vessels, causing narrowing and blockages that lead to a higher risk for heart attack. By contrast, good cholesterol acts as a removal system for bad cholesterol, seeking out and binding to bad cholesterol in the body, then transporting it to the liver, where it is broken down. Both men and women should aim for good cholesterol levels of 60 mg/dL or higher. Your heart doctor may consider you at risk for cardiovascular disease if your HDL cholesterol is less than 40 mg/dL for men or less than 50 mg/dL for women.
Good Cholesterol and Physical Activity
Regular physical activity can help you increase your HDL cholesterol levels . Even if you have never exercised before, adding just 30 minutes of walking to your daily schedule five days a week can increase good cholesterol by five percent within two months. Aerobic activities are best for boosting good cholesterol, and include swimming, jogging, bicycling, and active sports.
Good Cholesterol and Diet
Diet also plays a significant role in your HDL cholesterol levels. Foods with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as peanut oil, olive oil, and canola oil, will improve your HDL cholesterol levels. Omega-3 fatty acids also contribute to higher HDL cholesterol levels, so consider including plenty of nuts and fish in your diet as well. Foods to avoid for better HDL cholesterol levels include alcohol and options high in saturated fats.
Increasing HDL cholesterol can help you combat high cholesterol by reducing LDL cholesterol in the body. You can find out more about fighting heart disease in Phoenix by visiting Cardiac Solutions online or calling (623) 876-8816.