Monday, June 9, 2014

Good and bad cholesterol : What is the difference?

Fig. Difference between Good and Bad Cholesterol
For years we've heard about how cholesterol ratio is the leading indicator for heart disease potentiality. That's great to know, but rarely was that information bundled with an actual description of what cholesterol ratio means and how to adjust yours to lead to a longer, healthier and happier life.

Let's start simply: Your cholesterol ratio is the ratio of your total cholesterol to your High-density Cholesterol (HDL). Your total cholesterol level is determined by adding your Low-density Cholesterol (LDL) and your high-density cholesterol. Low-density cholesterol is frequently called your "bad" cholesterol, while your high-density cholesterol is frequently called your "good" cholesterol.

The American Heart Association ( uses the following as its barometer:

"AHA Recommendation
We recommend using the absolute numbers for total blood cholesterol and HDL cholesterol levels. They're more useful to physicians than the cholesterol ratio in determining the appropriate treatment for patients.

Some physicians and cholesterol technicians use the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol in place of the total blood cholesterol. The ratio is obtained by dividing the HDL cholesterol level into the total cholesterol. For example, if a person has a total cholesterol of 200 mg/dL and an HDL cholesterol level of 50 mg/dL, the ratio would be 4:1. The goal is to keep the ratio below 5:1; the optimum ratio is 3.5:1."

So now that you know how your cholesterol ratio is determined, the question then becomes how do you get your ratio down to that 3.5:1 ratio? It is not an easy process, but barring genetic predisposition, it is a straightforward one.

Step 1: Change your diet. Eliminate fatty foods like red meat and dairy. That means no more steaks, pizza or hot dogs. You can treat yourself once every couple of weeks or so, but get used to having boneless, skinless chicken breast or fish for dinner. Have fresh fruit for dessert. And eat as much green, leafy vegetables as possible - spinach, kale, broccoli, various lettuces.

Step 2: Eliminate processed foods. Get rid of anything in your house that has High Fructose Corn Syrup or Trans Fats. No questions asked, just get rid of them.

Step 3: Exercise! You need to exercise at least four times as week for at least twenty-five minutes. Make it part of your morning routine, because exercise is the only thing proven to raise HDL outside of prescription medication.
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