Of course, having excess cholesterol in our body is bad for our health, and too much can lead to serious problems such as heart disease, blood clots and even death, but not all cholesterol is bad. High-Density-Lipoprotein (HDL) is a type of fat which helps carry cholesterol to and from the cells of our body, but unlike its opposite (LDL), High-Density-Lipoproteins are proven to be good for our health, and encouraged to add to our diet.
How does it do this? Well, the experts found that consuming healthy levels of HDL can lead to the reduction of plaque build-up in our blood vessels, ultimately leading to a smoother blood flow, and a lower risk of heart problems. As well as slowing the build-up of plaque in the artery walls, HDL is also responsible for reducing the body’s levels of LDL by transporting it from places it shouldn’t be, to your liver, where it can be disposed.
Healthy levels of HDL will differ from person to person, depending on your size, age and past history of heart disease, but as a general rule of thumb, anything higher 40mg/dl is considered healthy. Finding out your HDL levels is simple, and can be done via a small blood test, carried out by your local GP.
The most simple and cost effective way to increase your HDL levels is by choosing the right foods to eat. A healthy, balanced diet will be better for you in general, but keeping your diet clean and empty of saturated and trans-fats, can work wonders for your levels of HDL. Lowering your levels of LDL is another way to make the effectiveness of your HDL more substantial, so consuming foods such as fish, leafy greens, walnuts and garlic are a great way to keep your LDL levels in check and your HDL cholesterol more effective.