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If you’ve listened to any dietician out there, you might have heard about cholesterol and about some of the dangers surrounding cholesterol. While some of those dangers are true, there is still a lot about cholesterol that is important to keep in mind if you are thinking of cutting back on it.
First of all, while too much cholesterol is a problem, there are actual benefits for it. For example, when are cholesterol levels are normal, cholesterol can be an essential substance for our body. The big reason that is possible is because cholesterol is in literally every cell of our body. Furthermore cholesterol is used by those cells to help us in digesting foods, and producing vitamin D and hormones. Because of that, our body actually creates cholesterol naturally.
So why is cholesterol actually bad for us? Well it has gotten such a bad rep because cholesterol mainly comes from the food that we eat plus our own body. The thing is that the cholesterol that is in certain foods isn’t the healthiest. First off, cholesterol is a purely oil-based substance. This means it doesn’t mix well with blood at all since that’s water-based. However it needs to be carried through the body much like a lot of other things. This is where our cells come in and make lipoprotein that helps carry cholesterol throughout our bodies. Our body produces two types: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL isn’t good for us, while HDL is considered the “good” cholesterol.
Now of course, companies aren’t going to label what sort of foods is going to produce which kind of lipoproteins for us. That being said, there are many steps you can take in managing your cholesterol levels. First of all, you want to be avoiding or limiting foods that are drastically high in cholesterol, saturated fat and trans fats. Examples of those are meats, dairy products, cheese, chocolate, baked goods and most deep-fried or processed foods.
You can also lower cholesterol levels through a variety of foods as well. A report from Harvard Health found a handful of items to consider eating. From the list, foods like oats, beans, barley, nuts, fatty fish and fruits (primarily apples, citrus, grapes and strawberries) are great foods in lowering and maintaining cholesterol levels.
“So how much cholesterol should we have in our body at a time?” You may be asking. It’s a good question and for a typical adult, your total should be under 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Reading at 200 to 239 mg/dL is borderline high while anything over 240 mg/dl is high.
You’ll also have to keep an eye on LDL cholesterol levels as well. Those should be under 100 mg/dL. If you are 100-129 mg/dL then that is generally good so long as you aren’t suffering from health issues. Anything higher than that can be considered high.
Lastly is your HDL levels which need to be kept at higher levels. You want to be looking at 60 mg/dL. Less than 40 mg/dL is considered a massive risk for heart problems while a reading of 41 to 59 mg/dL is borderline low.
To have all of these tests conducted, you’ll need to visit your doctor or a dietician to assist you with these tests.