HDL Cholesterol is referred to as the good kind whereas LDL Cholesterol is termed the bad kind. What makes up these differences and how could foods high in it be good for you? Anytime I hear anyone talking about the cholesterol topic it is usually in negative light. Any food that is associated with high amounts of cholesterol is usually instantly shunned away and thought of as bad for you. I am here to extinguish these myths and give you the truth about your cholesterol levels and how they pertain to your health.
Where Does Cholesterol Come From?
Cholesterol is a substance that is produced through digestion via the pancreas and liver. There are a few different types of cholesterol based on their composition but the two types that are most commonly known are HDL and LDL Cholesterol. Naturally being a fatty substance, cholesterol is most often found within the cell membranes because of its strength and fluidity. Cholesterol can also be attained from digestion and eating. Many foods contain cholesterol but fast food specifically contain very high, unhealthy amounts. Check your nutrition labels for the exact amounts that you’re eating.
Cholesterols also serve as the precurser substance to some hormones, bile acids and vitamin D. As you can see this substance is necessary for humans and is important for many different functions throughout our bodies. There can be a point where too much cholesterol is dangerous because if you have high amounts, termed hyperlipidemia, it can stick to your arteries. This can lead to atherosclerosis which increases your risk of developing heart disease. It is important to know your cholesterol levels and maintain them to healthy limits to ensure you avoid risks with health conditions.
HDL “Good” Cholesterol
HDL stands for High Density Lipoprotein and is measured in blood tests when assessing cholesterol levels. It is healthy to have levels above 40mg/dL for men and above 50mg/dL for women.
LDL “Bad” Cholesterol
LDL stands for Low Density Lipoprotein and is used as a marker for the diagnosis of hyperlipidemia. Hyperlipidemia is defined as your body producing too much cholesterol, which can be a result from your liver malfuncioning or your diet. When this happens your LDL cholesterol levels can increase. You want these levels to stay below 100mg/dL.