Among most people, there needs to be more clarity regarding the term cholesterol. For some, it sounds like a threat, a problem, or an undesirable condition.
While there is indeed bad cholesterol, which causes many problems and is associated with cardiovascular disease and death, our bodies also produce good cholesterol.
Do you know the function of good cholesterol? So, continue reading and discover how to increase its levels in the body.
What Is Good Cholesterol?
Good cholesterol is a high-density lipoprotein. Its English name — High-Density Lipoprotein — gives rise to the acronym HDL, which we even find in blood tests that detect its levels in the body.
As a lipoprotein, good cholesterol is a molecular aggregate, that is, a set of molecules that can transport lipids (fats) in liquid media.
Therefore, as fat has more difficulty mixing with blood plasma to be transported by the body, it needs a lipoprotein to conduct this process.
What Is The Importance Of Good Cholesterol?
By having this ability, good cholesterol removes fat molecules from the blood and blood vessels, including bad cholesterol (LDL), and takes them to the liver.
Then, in the liver, these fats are metabolized and eliminated from the body.
Therefore, good cholesterol promotes the proper cleaning of blood vessels, preventing atherosclerosis formation, heart attack, and stroke ( CVA ), among other problems.
Normal HDL cholesterol levels are also related to reducing oxidation processes and developing chronic inflammation.
In addition, good cholesterol reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and other brain diseases.
Good Cholesterol And Bad Cholesterol
However, our body does not only produce good cholesterol (HDL). It also produces low-density cholesterol, or LDL (low-density lipoprotein ).
Even so, it is important to emphasize that even LDL plays important bodily roles. It is essential.
Every cell in our body is lined with a membrane of protein and cholesterol.
Thanks to this fat, the cell wall becomes more malleable, allowing the entry of nutrients and the elimination of manure with ease.
Thus, even “bad” cholesterol only becomes a problem when it is found at high levels in the body, and, in this case, it can lead to cardiovascular problems.
Low-density cholesterol, that is, LDL, acts differently than good cholesterol.
While HDL carries fats to the liver, directing them for elimination, LDL is deposited in the blood vessels, forming plaques that block the passage of blood.
Therefore, LDL (bad cholesterol) is responsible for the development of atherosclerosis and can cause a heart attack, stroke, and other events.
What Are The Ideal Levels Of Cholesterol In The Body?
There are basic parameters to assess whether the person has changes in their cholesterol levels, whether good or bad.
HDL values, good cholesterol, must be above 40 mg/dl of blood. This reference value is for both men and women.
Low-density cholesterol — LDL or “bad” cholesterol — should not exceed the limit of 130 mg/dl.
However, although these are ideal levels for most people, the doctor may change the recommendations according to the patient’s risk for cardiovascular disease.
Therefore, seeking medical advice and changing habits that increase this cardiac risk, and lead a healthier lifestyle is always important.
How To Increase Good Cholesterol Levels?
Now that you know the importance of good cholesterol and the ideal level of this fat, the question remains: how to increase HDL?
It is important to highlight that 70% of the cholesterol in our body is produced in our liver.
Therefore, we still obtain 30% of this fat through our diet, which mainly impacts the quality of the cholesterol in our body.
When our food choices favor good fats like coconut, avocado, oilseeds like chestnuts and almonds, peanuts, etc., we will have higher levels of good cholesterol.
When on our food, we increase the consumption of fried foods, sausages, and meat (except for some types of fish); we also increase the “stock” of bad cholesterol.
Another very important factor for increasing good cholesterol is the practice of physical activity. Those who exercise regularly increase their HDL levels most of the time.
Even when exercise does not promote the increase of good cholesterol, it favors the function of HDL molecules.
Also Read: 6 Practical Tips To Reduce Bad Cholesterol