What Is Hdl Cholesterol
Discovering what is HDL cholesterol and what the difference between the good and bad levels are can be understood by first realizing what types of fats and cells exist in the body. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like compound in a class of molecules. It can be found in many types of foods, in the human body bloodstream, and in all of the body's cells. Its uses can aid in the formation and maintenance of cell membranes by helping a cell to tolerate changes in temperature by protecting and insulating nerve fibers. Another use is included in the formation of the sex hormones; progesterone, testosterone, estradiol, and cortisol. The digestion of food requires aid, as well as the conversion of vitamin D in the skin after being exposed to rays of sunlight. The chemical compound is created primarily in the liver, but can also be created by the cell lining in the small intestine and other cells within the body. A blood test will reveal the amount of cholesterol that is circulating within the body. Usually, about 85% of blood levels are endogenous, or produced by the body. The other 15% comes from an external source. The journey in finding how to raise HDL cholesterol should be understood because high levels can actually provide protection against artery blockage.
Good and Bad cholesterol levels refer to HDL vs. LDL. Both carry molecules made of protein and are labeled "apoproteins'. They are required because fats cannot dissolve in water or blood. When these apoproteins are combined with fats, they form a compound called lipoproteins. The density is determined by the amount of protein in the molecule. Understanding what is HDL cholesterol can help a person alter their lifestyle accordingly. HDL, or high density lipoprotein, exists and acts as a drain cleaner to prevent blockage in the arteries. Eating a low saturated fat diet, staying physically active and having levels checked every three to five years are how to raise HDL cholesterol levels. Bad levels, as they are considered, are LDL or low-density lipoproteins. These are the major carriers in the blood. High levels of LDL can increase the risk of atherosclerosis. It may mean that cell membranes have reduced the number of receptors and increased fats inside the cells. Normally, after a cell has used the fats for its chemical needs, it reduces the number of receptors.
This enables LDL levels to multiply in the blood. The body then begins to deposit the fats into the artery walls, which forms plaque and can eventually create blockages. By learning how to raise HDL cholesterol, a person can enable their body to take this excess fat and transport it to the liver for disposal. Keeping the body in a state of checks and balances can prevent any future complications with the heart or cardiovascular system. Discovering what is HDL cholesterol and educating oneself on the good and bad fats, as well as ways to achieve optimal health, are considered wise attributes to obtain. "A wise man is strong; Yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength. For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: And in multitude of counselors there is safety. Wisdom is too high for a fool: He openeth not his mouth in the gate. He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous person. The thought of foolishness is sin: And the scorner is an abomination to men" (Proverbs 24:5-9). Christians are told to seek wisdom, especially concerning the nourishment and care of their own bodies in which God resides through His Holy Spirit.
Desirable levels for the total blood ratio should remain below 200 mg/dL. This includes an HDL level of above 45 and an LDL level of below 130. How to raise HDL cholesterol levels can be done by lowering the LDL levels. There are several steps to take. First, eating a low fat diet, which means keeping total fat consumption; saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated- to fewer than 30% of the daily intake of calories. Saturated fats are contained in butter, whole milk, hydrogenated oils, chocolate, and shortening. To reduce total fat intake, avoid or limit meats such as pork, beef, liver, and tongue and always remember to trim off the excess fat. In addition, it's wise to avoid cheese, eggs, fried foods, nuts and cream. Use skim milk instead of whole and include fish in the diet. It is also important to make a habit out of reading food labels on all items purchased for consumption. Losing weight or maintaining a healthy diet and exercise program can greatly improve the heart and cardiovascular system. Diet and exercise alone can decrease levels by up to 15%. When seeking more information on what is HDL cholesterol, informational websites, and library reference books should be consulted for a thorough understanding on the topic. Educating oneself on the form and function of the human body and all its parts can be a wonderful way to begin the journey of living an abundant and healthy life.
Increasing Hdl CholesterolRaising HDL cholesterol levels has proven to be beneficial in clinical studies that analyzed the effects of therapy designed to raise HDL and lower LDL levels, and many physicians believe HDL levels may be more critical than first thought. Researchers have found that a component of HDL cholesterol prevents fats from oxidizing--a process that allows the fat to grab on to cell walls where it can constrict blood vessels and cause blockages. This action contributes to cancer and heart disease. Boosting those levels is highly recommended, and the way to do that is by restricting intake of saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting regular exercise.
Since a low level of HDL is considered a risk factor, even if total cholesterol is within limits, a person's risk of heart disease is elevated. Even in small amounts, increasing HDL cholesterol could reduce the risk of heart attacks. With that in mind, modifications in lifestyle are recommended for raising HDL cholesterol levels. Along with regular aerobic exercise (every other day), and weight loss for those over their optimum weight levels, diet is the most effective tool for changing those numbers.
Foods responsible for increasing HDL cholesterol, and the recommendations regarding them are as follows: (1) Eating half a raw onion a day raises the numbers an average of 25 percent in most people; (2) two servings of whole grains, oats and oat bran, brown rice, citrus fruit, apples, grapes, etc. and legumes and lentils; (3) use cooking oils higher in monounsaturated fats, such as canola or olive oil; (4) increase consumption of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, cold-pressed flaxseed oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, and dark green vegetables; (5) at least two servings of soy (tofu, tempeh, and texturized vegetable protein).
When a person is raising HDL cholesterol levels, doing something to lower the LDL or bad cholesterol is just as important, and that includes avoiding certain foods. One must avoid trans fatty acids, i.e., hydrogenated oil or vegetable shortening and choose a liquid or semisoft variety of margarine in a diet. Trans fatty acids are found in many fast foods and French fries, baked goods such as cookies, crackers and cakes. Remember, the softer the seed, the less trans fat it contains. Avoid refined carbohydrates like sugar and refined flour. Avoid egg yolk, liver, kidney, brains, etc., and avoid regular milk, cheese, and cream. Wine or beer in moderation may raise those good levels, but one or two drinks will suffice. Alcohol is not a medicine for increasing HDL cholesterol. While many times in Scripture wine is accepted, there is one place where it is not. "He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried." (Numbers 6:3)
A brisk walk every other day, or jogging, or water aerobics will burn calories while helping those pesky numbers. Not to mention keeping the body in good working order for whatever other activities a person wants to take up in between exercising sessions. This side (exercising) of raising HDL cholesterol levels may be the most enjoyable part of all. Every aspect of keeping the body in shape, both inside and out, is important, as a person grows older. When it's possible to avoid the complications of aging, that should be a priority, and warding off heart attacks and strokes is high on the list.
Books are available in all major bookstores or on line that have delicious recipes for every kind of meal that are designed to help with cholesterol management. Increasing HDL cholesterol can be an enjoyable experience. One of the goals of this type of diet will also be weight loss if a person is obese. Overweight people are most certainly raising the LDL level in their blood and lowering the HDL level, so losing that excess weight will work toward normalizing the numbers. Another factor is smoking. Smoking has an adverse affect on this problem, so if a person is smoking when the out of kilter numbers are discovered, he should stop.
There are those persons who, even after doing all the right things, still cannot get their levels to the right place. In that event, there are medicines to help. There are ads on TV every day for medications designed to do what the diet, exercise, and smoke cessation have not accomplished. In that event, the patient's doctor will recommend a medical solution to raising HDL cholesterol levels. Blood tests, medical history, and the patient's lifestyle will all be factors in the process of making a choice among the medications offered. The diet and exercise regimens should still be followed, but combined with medication, results should be positive.