Good cholesterol does not refer to the cholesterol in the food you eat, but the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) that circulates in your blood. HDL is one of the fats that is measured in the lipid panel blood test that is done by a doctor. You want a higher component of HDL, as high levels of HDL is related to low risk for heart problems.
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Facts About Good Cholesterol
HDL comprises around 20 to 30 percent of the total cholesterol in your blood. There is proof that HDL helps in protecting the body from the accumulation of fat, or plaque, in the walls of the coronary artery. Research has shown that the decrease of 5 numbers in the level of HDL in the body means a 25 percent increase in the risk of heart problems. In prospective research, which is research that follows its subject for a certain amount of time in order to observe events such as heart attacks or death caused by heart diseases, it is proved that HDL is usually a lipid risk factor that is most related to the risk for heart diseases.
The level of HDL in the body is affected by genetic factors. In general, women have higher levels of cholesterol than men. Around a third of men and a fifth of women have HDL below 40 mg/dL. Doctors regard levels below 40 mg/dL as low. Dutch researchers that have analyzed 60 studies, concludes that the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL is a better indicator of coronary artery disease than just the measurement of LDL.
Making Changes To Your Diet And Lifestyle To Increase Good Cholesterol
Simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can help increase the level of HDL in your body, even though the increases are small. First of all, you may want to increase your intake of orange juice as a small research in the United Kingdom has shown that by drinking three glasses of orange juice each day, you can increase the level of HDL in your body by 21 percent. You may also want to change your carbohydrate sources to whole grains, vegetables, fruits, fat-free products and low-fat milk. This is because those sources are low on the glycemic index.
Read also : What Is Considered High Cholesterol
You should also actively exercise for at least 30 minutes every day of the week. If you are a smoker, then you may also want to stop as stopping your smoking habit can increase your HDL level. Obesity can also lead to low level of HDL, so you may want to lose weight if you are currently overweight or obese. Now that you know how to increase good cholesterol, be sure to make the changes necessary in your life to stay away from the risk of developing heart diseases.