Good Cholesterol Numbers – Total, HDL, LDL, and Triglycerides
Attaining good cholesterol numbers is paramount to acquiring a healthy heart and body. Cardiovascular disease is a widespread epidemic that has inflicted many people across the globe. Some common cardiovascular diseases that can manifest due to bad cholesterol numbers are atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease, heart attack, and stroke, among many others.
To greatly help you from manifesting such an unfortunate condition, you should put forth effort to try to obtain good cholesterol numbers. If you look on a cholesterol levels chart, you’ll see the good cholesterol numbers (<200), the intermediate cholesterol numbers (200-239), and the high risk or bad cholesterol numbers (>239). These ranges are very important for you as they’re an indication of your risk for developing cardiovascular disease.
If you’re interested in a more specific analysis of what your good cholesterol numbers should be, then we can look even further at the different types of cholesterol. In particular, HDL and LDL cholesterol. HDL stands for high density lipoprotein and is considered to be the “good” cholesterol as it helps to reduce any buildup of artery clogging plaque that can accumulate on arterial walls. So, HDL is the only type of cholesterol where a higher number is favored over a lower number. The good HDL cholesterol range is >60.
In contrast, LDL is considered the “bad” cholesterol as it helps to accumulate plaque in the arteries. The more plaque you have in your vasculature, the more difficult it is for blood to flow through uninterrupted. If blood cannot flow through major arteries in the body, serious complications can arise. The good LDL cholesterol range is (<130).
Other types of cholesterol include very-low density lipotprotein (VLDL cholesterol) and intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL cholesterol). However, these types of cholesterol aren’t very relevant as they are merely the precursors to other forms of cholesterol. For instance, VLDL is the precursor to LDL cholesterol. So, the only values that you should be cognizant of when it comes to helping you to acquire good cholesterol numbers are that of your total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and your triglycerides (<150) as well.
How to obtain good cholesterol numbers
If your total cholesterol is abysmal, then you’ll need to make some significant lifestyle changes to help improve the status quo of your heart and cardiovascular system as a whole. Doing so will not only make you feel better, but it will help lower your risk for developing cardiovascular disease insurmountably.
One of the first steps you can take toward reaching good cholesterol numbers are to eat more heart healthy foods. However, it is not merely enough to eat more healthy foods. You’ll also need to significantly decrease eating foods that are high in saturated fats, high in cholesterol, and foods that contain trans fats. Foods high in these types of fats will help to clog your arteries with heart damaging plaque. Foods like pizza, cheeseburgers, shrimp, pork, and many more will put a damper on your good cholesterol numbers.
So, try to refrain from or limit foods like these and try to incorporate more foods that are high in heart healthy poly- and mono-unsaturated fats, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. Foods that contain these macro-nutrients will help you to lower your LDL cholesterol and increase your HDL cholesterol. This encourages less plaque to build up on arterial walls, which will allow blood to flow through your cardiovascular system much more fluently.
Foods that can help you attain good cholesterol numbers are heart healthy fish (e.g. salmon, herring, tuna, etc.), oatmeal, peanut butter, fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and many more. These types of foods will help you to lower your LDL cholesterol and increase your HDL cholesterol. This will encourage healthy systemic and pulmonary circulation as the less artery clogging plaque present in your vasculature, the easier blood will be able to flow through unhindered.
Exercise is another very effective way to help you acquire good cholesterol numbers. Specifically, aerobic or cardiovascular exercise is among one of the best modes of fitness to help you do so. This includes walking, running, hiking, swimming, biking, skiing, etc. Cardiovascular exercise such as the forgoing examples exemplify put a significant demand on the body, most notably on the heart. This increase in demand makes healthy changes occur within the arteries and veins of the cardiovascular system.
Another very effective way to help you obtain good cholesterol numbers is to take heart healthy supplements. This is especially useful for the individual who finds it rather difficult to find the time to cook and prepare every meal throughout the day. Fiber supplements are very effective at helping you to get in the good cholesterol number range of under 200. Other heart healthy supplements include omega-3 fatty acids and fish oil, among others. These supplements will help you to lower your LDL and increase your HDL.
Final thoughts on how to attain good cholesterol numbers
Other than eating the right foods, exercising more consistently, and taking heart healthy supplements, there are several other very effective measures you can take to help you reach your goal even sooner. For instance, you can try using a food journal where you can write down all of your meals to help you adhere to your diet better, as well as to give you a better indication of what your eating habits are like.
You can also try to surround yourself with people who understand your struggle and who can be there to support you. Creating a strong support system of family members/friends will make the entire process of improving your heart health and getting in the good cholesterol numbers range a much more pleasant one. You shouldn’t undermine the importance of reaching out for help from other people. Someone else’s perspective make change your entire way of thinking for the better.
Finally, I would say that you should try to acquire patience, because you’ll definitely need such a virtue as getting good cholesterol numbers doesn’t just happen over night. It takes effective and consistent efforts that are implemented over a reasonable period of time before you can expect to reach your goals. Follow the tips laid out herein to help you attain not only good cholesterol numbers, but a healthy heart and body as well.