Cholesterol is always considered a culprit for High Blood pressure and Heart Attacks. But this is a half-truth and, the fact is that cholesterol Prevents you from heart attacks. That’s why Cholesterol is divided into good cholesterol and bad cholesterol.
Cholesterol is an important component of your body and plays an important role in various functions of the body. It helps in producing different types of hormones, vitamin D3, and bile juice.
Difference Between Good Cholesterol and Bad Cholesterol
Mainly cholesterol is divided into two categories, good cholesterol, and bad cholesterol. HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is called good cholesterol. On the other side LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is called bad cholesterol.
Cholesterol is made in the liver as a normal phenomenon. You do not need to take something extra from outside to produce cholesterol. The liver produces cholesterol from the food you eat.
Your liver produces more cholesterol especially LDL when you eat fatty foods loaded with saturated fats. LDL starts getting deposited in arteries when the level of LDL is high in your blood. Deposits of cholesterol in the coronary artery lead to blockage which may cause a Heart Attack.
How Cholesterol Prevents You From Heart Attacks
HDL cholesterol gets activated once the level of LDL cholesterol is high in your blood. HDL cholesterol absorbs LDL cholesterol from the blood and sends it back to the liver.
The excess quantity of LDL cholesterol is flushed out by the liver from your body. But, you require a good quality HDL cholesterol in a sufficient quantity to maintain its function to flush out the LDL cholesterol.
That’s why the HDL: LDL ratio is an important factor to prevent heart attacks. If the LDL: HDL ratio is out of the normal range, it increases the risk of heart attacks.
High LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol in the blood are a bigger risk to your health. The risk of coronary artery disease is reduced if the level of HDL and LDL cholesterol is within the normal range. You can prevent heart attacks by controlling the cholesterol and balancing it.
Functions of Cholesterol
Cholesterol is an integral part of various physiological functions of our body and plays a vital role. Following are the key functions of cholesterol.
- Building blocks for body tissues
- Cholesterol helps in producing Vitamin D3
- Helps in Producing many hormones
- Produces sex hormones and prevents infertility
- Helps in developing immunity
- Bile Juice is also produced by cholesterol in the liver
- HDL cholesterol removes bad cholesterol from the body
Types of Cholesterol and Normal Range of Lipid Profile
There are 5 components of Lipid Profile which include Total Cholesterol, HDL, LDL, Triglycerides, and VLDL.
The normal range of cholesterol is given below as:
Total Cholesterol: 150-200 mg/dl
LDL: <100 mg/dl
HDL: >40 mg/dl
Triglycerides: <150 mg/dl
VLDL: <30 mg/dl
You need to maintain the balance between all the components to keep your coronary arteries and heart-healthy. HDL is the only cholesterol that is considered good cholesterol. All other remaining components including LDL, VLDL, and Triglycerides are considered as bad cholesterol.
Is Cholesterol good or bad for your health?
There are many studies done to know the fact whether cholesterol is good or bad for health. It has been accepted that cholesterol is the only culprit for coronary artery disease.
But, recent studies showed that cholesterol plays an important role in the older population and prevents heart attacks.
A study was done on a group of 60 years of age and above population. Two groups were made to perform this study.
One group was given Statins, the medicine to reduce the cholesterol. The level of cholesterol was reduced to the lower limit and maintained within the normal range.
Another group was maintained at a higher level of cholesterol and no medicine was given to reduce the cholesterol. This group was kept on a healthy diet and was involved in physical activities too.
Surprisingly, results were very different and changed the theory of reducing cholesterol with the help of Statins in the older age population. The mortality rate was higher in the group who was given Statins to reduce the cholesterol and maintained a low level of cholesterol.
On another hand the mortality rate was low and the life span was high in the group who was kept on high cholesterol levels without giving any cholesterol-reducing medicine.
These results claim that cholesterol is an important component and plays a vital role to maintain your health even the levels of cholesterol are high. The ratio of bad and good cholesterol is more important than keeping the cholesterol levels low.
How to Improve Good Cholesterol
You need to balance your cholesterol levels to attain good health for your heart and body.
Your dietary habits are the best remedy to improve and increase the HDL cholesterol levels in your body.
HDL or good cholesterol comes from legumes, nuts, dry fruits like almond and cashew nuts, and seafood.
Regular exercise promotes good cholesterol and eliminates LDL cholesterol from your body.
Pomegranate is also very helpful in maintaining the good cholesterol in your body.
Redwine in small quantity is also promoting good cholesterol and helps in eliminating the bad cholesterol (LDL and triglycerides)
What increase Bad Cholesterol in Your Body
Again your dietary habits, sedentary lifestyle, and lack of exercise are the main culprit of increasing bad cholesterol in your body. If the ratio of good cholesterol and bad cholesterol is not maintained, it leads to many health issues including obesity, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and heart attacks.
Junk foods, fast food, packaged food, processed foods, and food containing high saturated fat are the cause of bad cholesterol in your body. Such foods fall under the category of bad food for the heart and lead to high blood pressure. These foods produce bad cholesterol which gets deposited in the coronary arteries and cause heart disease and coronary artery disease.
If you have a balance between HDL (Good Cholesterol) and LDL (Bad Cholesterol), then HDL absorbs LDL from your blood and sends it back to the liver which prevents you from coronary artery disease and heart attacks. Good cholesterol helps you in building blocks for tissues, produces various hormones for your body including sex hormone, and is helpful for the immune system also.