Normal Cholesterol Levels
To understand normal cholesterol levels, we need to define what cholesterol is. Cholesterol is a fat that does not dissolve readily in blood. Would it surprise you to learn that cholesterol performs a lot of essential functions?
- Every cell uses cholesterol to build its protective membrane, protecting it from various substances
- Cholesterol helps keep water from leaving your body too quickly
- Cholesterol provides the basis of important hormones produced in your adrenal glands, ovaries and testes
- Cholesterol helps your body make vitamin D
Therefore, eliminating cholesterol is not an option. However, achieving normal cholesterol levels and getting the right balance of cholesterol in your blood will lead to healthier arteries, and as a result healthier organs.
LDL Cholesterol vs. HDL Cholesterol
Since cholesterol does not dissolve in your blood, it needs help in traveling through your body. It therefore attaches itself to fatty proteins - high density lipoproteins ( HDL cholesterol ) and low density lipoproteins ( LDL cholesterol ).
- HDL cholesterol keeps cholesterol liquid and moves it safely through the body. It hangs on to the cholesterol, not letting it get loose and attach itself to your artery walls. In fact, HDL can grab on to and move cholesterol already stuck to your artery walls. This is why HDL cholesterol is sometimes called good cholesterol.
- LDL cholesterol is not beneficial. Oxidized LDL cholesterol can damage artery walls and set the stage for mineral and fat deposits which lead to blockages.
Therefore, achieving normal cholesterol levels by reducing your LDL cholesterol and increasing your HDL cholesterol, is the best way to keep your arteries healthy.
So what should my cholesterol level be?
Cholesterol levels are normally checked through a blood test. Prior to drawing blood for your next blood test, you should ask for a lipid profile. The lipid profile not only measures overall cholesterol, but also HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. I feel that these breakdowns are more important than the overall cholesterol level.
Please keep in mind that it is easy to get obsessive over numbers – I tend to, but it is more important to get into a healthy life style that helps to keeps cholesterol levels in balance. Remember, cholesterol is as much about your genetics as it is about what you do. Therefore, use these numbers as they were intended – as guidelines. I find it equally helpful to look at trends. For instance, my cholesterol level used to be as high as 280. Over the course of 10 years, I managed to get it down to 194. In the process, I checked it at least once per year, while I improved my lifestyle.
- Total cholesterol level should be 135 - 200 mg/dL.
- LDL cholesterol ( bad cholesterol ) should be less than 130 mg/dL.
- HDL cholesterol ( good cholesterol ) should be greater than 30 mg/dL. Raising HDL cholesterol was not a priority until a few years ago. Most studies had focused on how lowering LDL cholesterol that can reduce the risk or coronary heart disease. But in the past few years, researchers have identified that HDL acted as an independent factor and was also critical in the overall health of your heart.
- The ratio of Total cholesterol / HDL cholesterol should be 4.0 – 6.0 (for males) and 3.7 – 5.7 (for females). This ratio is an important indicator of health. Since LDL cholesterol can damage your arteries and HDL cholesterol helps your arteries, this ratio is a good indicator of the potential of cholesterol, in general, to help or hurt your arteries. Additionally, there are separate guidelines for male and female – recognizing the inherent differences in women’s and men’s bodies.
Is There a Magic Pill?
Lowering LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol is an important part of managing your cholesterol and heart health. Since cholesterol is a product of genetics and lifestyle (diet and exercise), there are no natural magic pills for lowering cholesterol without modifying lifestyle factors. However, I have recently found something that is as close as it gets - a fiber supplement clinically proven to lower LDL cholesterol twice as effectively as oat fiber! If you do nothing else, I recommend that you look at
and the science behind it.
Another method of achieving normal cholesterol levels naturally is to eat
food that lowers cholesterol.
You can find other natural methods of managing your cholesterol levels by following this
cholesterol treatment plan.
Achieving normal cholesterol levels is
The Natural Path to good health.
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