Healthy Cholesterol Levels For A Happy Body
Cholesterol Explained Simply
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all cells of the body. The words waxy and fat makes it seem like a bad thing. But it is essential for our bodies to survive. Cholesterol is necessary for the production of bile acids, hormones, and vitamin D. It also protects our nerves and helps form the structure of every cell in our body.
Cholesterol comes from more than just the food we eat; our body manufactures it. While almost every cell in our body (except the brain) can create cholesterol, the liver is the main organ that produces most of it. In a normal body, healthy cholesterol levels are maintained naturally so that when we eat more cholesterol in food, the body produces less, keeping things in equilibrium.
Lipoproteins Carry Cholesterol
Cholesterol is transported in the body in lipoprotein particles – a mixture of proteins and lipids. Two important lipoproteins related to the formation of arterial plaque are low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). High LDL levels, especially when the LDL particles are small in size, are a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and other serious illnesses.
HDL particles can remove fat molecules from the wall of arteries, helping prevent plaque formation. This also helps reduce inflammation in the arteries, calming the immune system. HDL carries excess cholesterol back to the liver for reprocessing or removal from your body.
Another important lipoprotein is VLDI and it contains triglycerides, a type of fat. Too much triglycerides in the blood stream is another risk factor for heart disease.
Why Are Healthy Cholesterol Levels Important?
We’ve established that cholesterol is essential to survive. So what is all the fuss about maintaining healthy cholesterol levels? The problem is that cholesterol can accumulate in the arteries and eventually cause blockage. One theory is that accumulation comes from the cholesterol getting oxidized. The immune system sees the oxidized cholesterol, attacks it and the result is debris in the blood vessel walls.
Healthy Cholesterol Levels
To prevent heart disease, the American Heart Association suggests people maintain healthy cholesterol levels. It’s recommended that HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) be at least 40 mg/dl and optimally over 60 and LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) be under 100 mg/dL. And the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL-C needs to be below 5:1 and ideally 3.5:1. The National Cholesterol Education Program guideline for normal trigyceride levels is 150 mg/dL or less.
Check For Heart Disease Even With Healthy Cholesterol Levels
But people still develop heart disease with healthy cholesterol numbers. That’s because we each have different genetic tendencies, so what is healthy cholesterol levels for one person may be unhealthy for another. A definitive clinical test to check artery health is called the carotid ultrasound; it’s a safe, radiation-free, noninvasive 30-minute lab procedure. An annual ultrasound by a well-qualified physicians’ office can uncover hidden problems.
What Can We Do To Keep Healthy Cholesterol Levels?
First, eat a well balanced diet and exercise. And it’s not just avoiding too much saturated fat and trans-fats. Keep the balance of omega-six fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids at less than 3:1 in your diet. Plus carbohydrate consumption affects how much cholesterol the liver creates. Too many carbs spiking blood sugar levels produces too much of the unhealthy small-sized LDL particles. Fad diets like high-fat-low-carb, or low-fat-high-carb are not the solution.
Secondly, since oxidation is related to free radicals, managing free radical damage through antioxidants, such as vitamin C, can be beneficial.
Last, strive to keep the LDL and triglyceride numbers low. A heart healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, fatty fishes, nuts can help lower your LDL and triglyceride numbers. Research also demonstrates that eating oatmeal helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels. To avoid having to eat bowls of it a day, a convenient solution is a USDA-developed oat concentrate called Nutrim.
Serious health problems can occur when you have too much cholesterol in your blood. This condition does not always produce symptoms, so it is important to see a physician and get tested.
For more information on lowering your cholesterol naturally, check out http://www.hearthealthysolution.com.
Source: Heart Healthy Solution
Author: Jonathan Sherman