Is Cholesterol Good For Health? Read To Know!

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Published on: 27-Mar-2023

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Harsimran Kaur

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Is Cholesterol Good For Health? Read To Know!

Is Cholesterol Good For Health? Read To Know!

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Do you go for complete body check-ups frequently? Do cholesterol levels bother you a lot? Is cholesterol good for health? Here is what you need to know!

Most of you go for a routine blood test and find your cholesterol on the higher side. You then start worrying about it and instantly bring changes to your diet. But you forget to notice the type of cholesterol that is problematic. 

In general, cholesterol is an essential element that helps produce certain hormones. You can be concerned when your LDL is on the higher side because it eventually increases the risk of heart disease leading to trying various medical care plans.

As you continue reading the blog, various doubts regarding cholesterol for health will be clear. You will know if it is good or bad for your health and its different sources that you need to take or avoid.

So, let us get going!

Table Of Contents

1. An Overview Of Cholesterol For Health

2. Is Cholesterol Good For Health? 

3. How Much Cholesterol Is Good For Daily Consumption?

4. Good Vs. Bad Cholesterol 

5. Food Sources Of Good Cholesterol

6. Dietitian’s Recommendation

7. The Final Say

8. FAQs

An Overview Of Cholesterol For Health 

Cholesterol is a lipid type (fat) essential for critical physiological functions. It is a waxy, fat-like substance produced naturally in the liver and obtained through certain foods in the diet. 

It plays a vital role in building and maintaining cell membranes, producing hormones like oestrogen and testosterone, and aiding in the digestion of fats. But, high cholesterol levels in the blood can also increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

As you know, there are two types of cholesterol: LDL (low-density Lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density Lipoprotein). LDL cholesterol is often known as "bad" cholesterol because it can build up in the walls of arteries and increase the risk of heart disease. And HDL cholesterol is often called cholesterol good for health because it helps remove LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream.

Here, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including eating a balanced diet, regular exercise, not smoking, and managing stress, can help keep cholesterol levels in check. In some cases, medication may help lower high cholesterol levels. So, always consult a doctor before panicking when you do not get desired cholesterol levels. 

Is Cholesterol Good For Health? 

Cholesterol itself is not inherently good or bad for health. In fact, cholesterol is a vital component of cell membranes, helps produce hormones, and aids digestion. However, high levels of certain types of cholesterol, specifically LDL cholesterol, can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

LDL cholesterol is often known as bad cholesterol because it can contribute to plaque formation in the arteries, leading to atherosclerosis and increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, HDL cholesterol is cholesterol good  for health because it helps remove excess cholesterol from the bloodstream and transport it to the liver for excretion.

A healthy balance of cholesterol is vital for overall health. High levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood are due to a diet high in saturated and trans fats, lack of exercise, smoking, and other factors leading to heart disease and stroke risk. On the other hand, higher HDL cholesterol for health is essential to fight heart diseases.

So, to achieve healthy cholesterol levels, you need to make lifestyle modifications, like eating a balanced diet, regularly exercising, quitting smoking, following active fitness plans, and managing stress. 

How Much Cholesterol Good For Daily Consumption?

The Indian Heart Association recommends that adults aim for a total cholesterol level of less than 200 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) and an LDL cholesterol level of less than 100 mg/dL. Here, HDL cholesterol levels should be kept higher, with a goal of 40 mg/dL or higher for men and 50 mg/dL or higher for women.

For dietary cholesterol, the Indian Council of Medical Research recommends limiting daily intake to less than 300 milligrams. However, several studies have shown that dietary cholesterol intake has little effect on blood cholesterol levels in some cases and that saturated and trans fats have a higher impact. 

Therefore, you should focus on reducing the intake of these fats, found in foods like red meat, full-fat dairy products, and fried foods, rather than worrying too much about dietary cholesterol.

It is also important to note that cholesterol levels are one factor in cardiovascular health. Other factors, like blood pressure, weight, and blood sugar levels, also impact your heart health.

Good Vs. Bad Cholesterol 

LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol are the two types of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol in the blood. The main differences between these two types of cholesterol are:

1. LDL Cholesterol For Health(Low-density lipoprotein)

  • LDL cholesterol is bad cholesterol because it contributes to plaque formation in the arteries.
  • It can build up on the walls of arteries, leading to atherosclerosis and increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • It carries most cholesterol in the blood, and high LDL cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease.

2. HDL Cholesterol For Health (High-density lipoprotein)

  • HDL cholesterol is known as cholesterol good for health because it helps remove excess cholesterol from the bloodstream and transport it to the liver for excretion.
  • It prevents plaque formation in the arteries by removing cholesterol from the artery walls.
  • It carries cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver for processing and removal from the body.
  • High HDL cholesterol for health is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

Food Sources of Good Cholesterol For Health

Cholesterol good for health is vital. It can increase through a healthy diet that includes certain foods, like

1. Fatty Fish

Salmon, mackerel, herring, and other fatty fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help increase HDL cholesterol levels.

2. Nuts And Seeds

Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats leading to a rise in cholesterol good for health.

3. Avocado

Avocado is high in monounsaturated fats, which increases HDL cholesterol levels in humans.

4. Olive Oil

Olive oil is also high in monounsaturated fats, which improves HDL cholesterol, a cholesterol good for health.

5. Whole grains

Oatmeal, brown rice, and other whole grains are also high in fibre, which you can consume to increase cholesterol good for health.

6. Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, which can help prevent damage to the arteries and promote the production of HDL cholesterol.

Here, it is necessary to note that while these foods can help increase HDL cholesterol (cholesterol good for health) levels, consume them as part of a healthy, balanced diet that includes other nutritious foods. 

Additionally, limit the intake of unhealthy foods, such as saturated and trans fats. And start with regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking for healthy cholesterol levels.

Dietitian Recommendations

Cholesterol is an essential molecule needed for many bodily functions. It helps build and maintain cell membranes, produce vitamin D, and make hormones such as testosterone and oestrogen. In addition, cholesterol is a precursor to bile acids, which help the body digest fats. 

When cholesterol levels are in the healthy range, it can help maintain a healthy heart and reduce the risk of heart disease. Cholesterol good for health (HDL cholesterol) is beneficial for heart health as it helps remove excess cholesterol from the bloodstream and transport it to the liver for excretion. 

Consuming foods that can help increase HDL cholesterol levels, like fatty fish, nuts and seeds, avocado, and fruits and vegetables, can positively impact overall health. 

 

  -Dietitian Aditi Upadhyay 

The Final Say

While there is a lot of focus on the poor effects of cholesterol, it is essential to recognise that cholesterol is vital. When cholesterol levels are appropriate, it promotes good health and reduces heart disease risk. HDL cholesterol is specifically beneficial for heart health that you can increase through a healthy diet and lifestyle. 

FAQs

1. Are all cholesterol types harmful to you?

No, not all cholesterol types are harmful. It is an essential molecule that plays important roles in the body, such as building and maintaining cell membranes and producing hormones. HDL cholesterol is termed as cholesterol good for health. It benefits heart health and can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

2. How can I increase my HDL cholesterol levels?

Consuming foods high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as fatty fish, nuts and seeds, avocado, and olive oil, can help increase HDL cholesterol levels. Regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking are also essential.

3. Can I have high HDL cholesterol levels and still be at risk for heart disease?

HDL cholesterol is cholesterol good for health. It benefits heart health, but other factors such as high LDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, and a family history of heart disease can also contribute to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

4. How often should I have my cholesterol levels checked?

The American Heart Association recommends checking cholesterol levels every four to six years for adults over 20 years. However, if you have a family history of heart disease, have other risk factors for heart disease, or have high cholesterol levels, you may have to check the levels frequently.

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