Ordinary, we know cholesterol mostly in negative aspect. In fact, we actually need cholesterol to make bile salts, hormones and vitamin D. Cholesterol is generally created by liver. Cholesterol will stick to the artery walls if you have too high level of cholesterol in the blood. Mainly, there are 2 types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
HDL or good Cholesterol
In our blood, there are allow one-fourth to one-third of high-density lipoprotein (HDL).High levels of HDL cholesterol seem to protect against heart attack. On other hand, low levels of HDL cholesterol (less than 40 mg/dL) increase the risk of heart disease. There is some proof that the HDL cholesterol molecules clean up the blood vessels walls, and cleans out excess cholesterol and is being transported back to the liver for further processing.
LDL or bad Cholesterol
High amounts of the bad LDL cholesterol will deposit cholesterol on the blood vessels walls forming plaques. More and more plaques will narrow the blood vessels and may finally block blood flow. As a result LDL cholesterol is considered the bad cholesterol. Importantly, saturated fats and trans fatty acids are factors that raise blood cholesterol. Unsaturated fats which found in nuts and fish can lower the LDL cholesterol level. In addition, soluble fiber found in fruits, oats, barley and legumes can also lower LDL cholesterol.
Increasing the GOOD cholesterol
Regular aerobic exercise such as walking, jogging or bike riding, which boost up your heart rate for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, may be the most useful way to enhance HDL levels. The duration of exercise, evidently, is rather important than the intensity of exercise increasing HDL cholesterol. Obesity also consequences in increased LDL cholesterol and also reduces HDL cholesterol. If you have excess weight, you should reduce your weight to increase your HDL levels.
If you smoke, giving up tobacco will cause in an increase in HDL levels. Drink alcohol, other factor, can significantly increase HDL levels. More than one or two drinks per day can speed up health problems including heart failure and there are individuals who will, probably develop such problems even when limiting their alcohol intake to one or two drinks per day.
Trans fatty acids are currently present in many foods which label partially hydrogenated vegetable oils so cutting trans fat from the diet is not easy. Trans fatty acids not only increase LDL cholesterol levels, but also reduce HDL cholesterol levels. Removing them from your food will significantly in increasing HDL level. On other hand, increase the monounsaturated fats such as canola oil, avocado oil, or olive oil and in the fats found in peanut butter in your diet can increase HDL cholesterol levels without increasing the total cholesterol.
You should eat more soluble fiber because it both reduce LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol. Soluble fibers are found in oats, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Other dietary means to increasing HDL is cranberry juice which has been shown to increase HDL levels. Fish and other foods containing omega-3 fatty acids can also increase HDL levels.