What is the Difference between Good Cholesterol and Bad Cholesterol?

The difference between good cholesterol versus bad cholesterol can mean the difference between a healthy heart and coronary disease. Cholesterol is not a fat, but it is closely related to fats. LDL or the “bad” cholesterol can contribute to atherosclerosis, in which the blood vessels are narrowed by deposits of fatty tissues, all of which are made up of cholesterol. This can cause angina, and also increases the risk of a blocked artery in your heart causing a heart attack.

The HDL or “good” cholesterol essentially protects the heart against attack. According to researchers, the HDL carries the cholesterol away from the arteries and back into the liver, where it is eventually passed from the body. They even go so far as to say that HDL removes excess plaque from the arteries.

If you have a monthly blood test, it will indicate the level of LDL and HDL in your body.

If your cholesterol level is below 200, you are in good shape. If it is above 200, then you need to change your diet, exercise, and/or take cholesterol medication to lower the bad and raise the good. In addition, your doctor will advise you to cease smoking. However, sometimes cholesterol is normally produced by the body, and you may be on medication for life; or there may be a family history of cholesterol. In either case, there are safe drugs available today such as Crestor and Lipitor, which are non-habit forming, and which can lower the bad cholesterol by as much as 50%.

A healthy diet should consist of natural foods including fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Stay away from foods which contain large amount of cholesterol such as eggs, shellfish, shrimp and liver. Avoiding unsaturated fats; use vegetable oil when cooking; and drink skim milk instead of whole milk. Choose skinless chicken; lean beef and pork; and try to limit the portion. You know, diets work if the portions are smaller. This doesn’t mean you have to starve yourself. Eating small portions of food 3 or 4 times a day is fine, as long as you stick to the low-fat, non dairy plan.

There is an old saying, “Never go food shopping on an empty stomach.” It is so true! You tend to buy everything you see, some of which are sweets and which are not good for you at all. Another tip is to eat slowly; use smaller plates; and put your fork down between each bite. It really works!

Finally, decrease your cholesterol level through exercise. It has been proven that 30 minutes of exercise daily can increase the good and decrease the bad cholesterol. If you have no idea what your cholesterol level is; have your doctor give you a blood test so that you know where you stand. It is important for your health and heart!