There's 'good' and 'bad' cholesterol - so what's the difference?

life 23/11/2018

Cholestrol is an essential substance for our bodies, but you may have heard that there is 'good' and 'bad' cholestrol. So what's the difference? 

Cholesterol travels through your body on certain proteins called lipoproteins - there are two seperate kinds, and these are key to understanding which cholesterol is good and bad, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the carrier that is considered bad, and it actually makes up most of the cholesterol in your body. High levels of LDL can increase your risk of heart disease or stroke.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) however is considered good - high levels of this can actually lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. HDL actually absorbs cholesterol in your body and carries it back to your liver, which then flushes it out of your system. Makes sense why it's considered good!

So how can you improve your cholesterol levels?

One of the main goals is to get your LDL below the measurement of 100mg/10ml according to the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. You can't exactly measure this at home though. If you suspect you have problems with cholesterol, talk to your doctor about doing some tests to see if you need treatment. 

What you CAN do is eat heart-healthy foods to improve your cholesterol - these include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, as well as food with soluble fibre like oatmeal, Brussel sprouts and apples. 

Increasing your physical activity will also help your cholesterol levels, even if it's just a short walk daily. And of course, cutting out smoking and alcohol will always have positive health benefits!