Cholesterol isn’t all bad. In fact, cholesterol is an essential fat. It provides stability in every cell of your body.
HDL cholesterol is the well-behaved “good cholesterol.” This friendly scavenger cruises the bloodstream. As it does, it removes harmful bad cholesterol from where it doesn’t belong. High HDL levels reduce the risk for heart disease — but low levels increase the risk.
Amount of HDL
- HDL cholesterol levels greater than 60 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) are high. That’s good.
- HDL cholesterol levels less than 40 mg/dL are low. That’s not so good.
Experts believe HDL cholesterol may act in a variety of helpful ways that tend to reduce the risk for heart disease:
- HDL cholesterol scavenges and removes LDL — or “bad” — cholesterol.
- HDL reduces, reuses, and recycles LDL cholesterol by transporting it to the liver where it can be reprocessed.
- HDL cholesterol acts as a maintenance crew for the inner walls (endothelium) of blood vessels. Damage to the inner walls is the first step in the process of atherosclerosis, which causes heart attacks and strokes. HDL scrubs the wall clean and keeps it healthy.
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- In general, people with high HDL are at lower risk for heart disease. People with low HDL are at higher risk.
Some recommendation to increase HDL levels
- Get active. Physical activity can boost your HDL level. Get at least 30 minutes a day of moderate activity, most days of the week.
- Lose extra weight. If you’re overweight, losing extra pounds can help raise your HDL levels, as well as cut your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels.
- Choose better fats. The healthier choices are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. You’ll find these in plants, nuts, and fish like salmon or tuna. And, like everything you eat, keep your sizes small. Fats pack a lot of calories in small amounts.
List of food rich in HDL
- Olive oil
- Beans and legume
- Whole grain
- High fiber fruits such as prunes, apples, and pears
- Fatty fish ( salmon ,mackerel , tuna , sardines )
- Chia seeds
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