"Good Cholesterol" and "Bad Cholesterol" - The Differences
When we hear the phrase high cholesterol, we do not think of it in terms of too much bad cholesterol and too little good cholesterol; we only see the overall picture. But cholesterol exists in two forms, both of which are very important to overall health.
Low-density lipoprotein, commonly referred to as LDL, is a sticky, fatty substance considered bad cholesterol. LDL travels through the bloodstream transporting essential fats to various parts of the body. While normal amounts of cholesterol are considered beneficial to the body, excess LDL amounts build up in the arteries, increasing the risks for developing a number of health conditions, from atherosclerosis to cardiovascular disease.
High-density lipoproteins, or HDL, collect LDL from the bloodstream and transport it back to the liver to be discarded. By removing excessive LDL cholesterol, the risk of developing adverse health conditions is drastically reduced.
Cholesterol levels can be controlled by practicing a few healthy lifestyle choices. Maintaining a healthy diet is the first step in getting your cholesterol levels in check. The body naturally supplies all the cholesterol it needs to function on a healthy level, so any additional cholesterol in the body is supplied through diet. Natural foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are healthy sources of food that will not raise cholesterol levels. Choose lean meats and remove the fat and skin before cooking them. Exercise and maintaining a healthy weight help keep bad cholesterol at bad and raise HDL levels. Reducing cholesterol levels is another reason to quit smoking, which inhibits HDL and elevates LDL.
As a precaution, ask your physician to test your cholesterol levels and discuss treatment options if they are elevated.