How to Reduce Bad Cholesterol (LDL) and Raise Good Cholesterol (HDL)

In order to move around the blood, fat molecules bind themselves to proteins to form lipoproteins. In this article, we tell you why cholesterol is important and how to reduce the accumulation of bad cholesterol.
How to Reduce Bad Cholesterol (LDL) and Raise Good Cholesterol (HDL)

Last update: 11 March, 2021

Simply hearing talk of cholesterol levels scares the majority of people. However, depending on the density of this fat molecule, it can have positive or negative effects on the body. In this article, we offer 6 tips that you can use to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise levels of good cholesterol (HDL).

Importance of cholesterol

An article published in National Center for Biotechnology Information explains that cholesterol is a fat molecule. It’s needed by all animal species, especially humans. We can find this molecule in the tissues and blood plasma. It’s essential for the body to create cytoplasmic membranes that regulate the intake and excretion of substances into the cells.

Although we tend to view it as a negative, cholesterol plays a role in many bodily functions. It’s a precursor in the synthesis of sex hormones like progesterone, corticosteroids like cortisol, and the production of vitamin D and bile salts.

Cholesterol moves through the tissues to the liver to be excreted. As cholesterol travels through the blood, it deposits the excess in the artery walls and, over time, this causes a build-up of layers that then block the arteries.

However, excessive lipid consumption or a poorly functioning liver can cause huge health problems like coronary illnesses and diabetes.

Good or bad cholesterol?

good or bad cholesterol checklist on doctor's table with stethoscope

In order to be transported around the body via the blood, the fat molecules bind themselves to proteins to form lipoproteins. Following information published in Medical Principles and Practice, there are two main types of lipoproteins that aid the movement of fats or lipids in the blood.

Bad cholesterol (LDL)

What we call bad cholesterol in popular culture, is actually the presence of low-density lipoproteins (LDL). These transport the majority of the cholesterol from the liver to the tissues. Normal levels of LDL are less than 13/100 oz per gallon.

When the body contains more than this amount, the cholesterol may be transported back to the liver. This can cause plaque to form in the arteries and unstable cells to develop.

This condition increases the risk of suffering from a heart attack or chronic illnesses like arteriosclerosis. For this reason, we consider this kind to be bad cholesterol.

Good cholesterol (HDL)

Good cholesterol (HDL); doctor choosing good cholesterol over bad

High-density lipoproteins (HDL) transfer cholesterol to the liver to remove it from the body. For this reason, we don’t consider it a threat to the body’s cardiovascular health.

Having high levels of HDL cholesterol is beneficial because it protects the body against cardiovascular illnesses, which is why we believe it to be “good cholesterol”.

How to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL)

cooking a healthy meal preparation; vegetables on a chopping board, seasoning, vegetables in a pan

To reduce the levels of bad cholesterol and raise the levels of good cholesterol, it’s important to follow a healthy lifestyle. In fact, a case noted in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine suggests that in some people, lifestyle changes are only able to reduce levels moderately high cholesterol levels. So, what do we need to keep in mind?

1. Include unsaturated fat in your diet

Unsaturated fatty acids are essential for the body to work correctly, and a lack of these is related to high levels of bad cholesterol. We can find these healthy fats in foods such as olive oil, nuts, and fish (bluefish, sardines, salmon).

2. Eat vegetables

Foods of plant origin such as fruits, vegetables, or legumes are extremely low in fat or contain unsaturated fat, and provide an abundance of vitamins and minerals to your body. Specialists have observed that food rich in vegetable oils is linked to overall better general health.

3. Exercise to reduce bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol

Maintain a healthy weight

A study published in Lipids in Health and Disease suggests that maintain a good physical activity routine can help to reduce bad cholesterol and raise the good. This is because regular physical activity keeps weight at a suitable level and avoids any of the consequences of being overweight that we mention in other articles.

5. Reduce your alcohol and tobacco consumption to reduce bad cholesterol

Everyone knows that excessive alcohol consumption can damage the heart and affect the liver. This, as we’ve already learnt, actively participates in the elimination of cholesterol. Therefore, keep the alcohol consumption at bay and drink in moderation.

Similarly, according to a study in Annals of Clinical Biochemistry, tobacco contributes to reducing HDL cholesterol levels, and as a result, allows the body to accumulate more LDL cholesterol, which can damage the arteries.

6. Limit saturated fats, salt, and sugars

plate of saturated fatty foods,chips,meat,sauces

Foods such as eggs, dairy, butter, and meats are needed in a balanced diet. However, it’s important we monitor how much we eat as they can increase the levels of fat molecules in the blood. The American Heart Association recommends your diet allows you to achieve 5 to 6% of your needed calories from saturated fat.

In other words, you’re able to consume around 1/2 oz. of saturated fat a day. You should also avoid products with high calorific values that are rich in salt or sugar.

As you can see, cholesterol is of paramount importance for human development; it’s fundamental to maintaining balance. Apart from what we have mentioned, it also influences other processes that we can’t control, like family background, age, sex, and other illnesses, etc. With that in mind, we should try to change what we can.Are you ready to lead a healthy life?

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