What is LDL Cholesterol and How Do I Decrease It?

ldl cholesterolWhat is LDL Cholesterol and How Do I Decrease It?

No matter what you do, you can never totally get rid of cholesterol. The liver manufactures cholesterol that the body needs, since it is important for certain body processes such as the production of hormones and the insulation of nerves. While cholesterol is not entirely bad for the body, what makes it harmful is the fact that you can get too much of it from the food that you eat. High amounts of cholesterol, especially low density lipoproteins or LDL, can increase your risk for developing cardiovascular diseases.

What is LDL Cholesterol?

You have probably heard about the two types of cholesterol—the good and the bad. The good type is high density lipoproteins or HDL cholesterol, which actually contains more protein than cholesterol and helps clear excess cholesterol from the blood. Hence, the culprit for heart diseases is LDL cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol, since it contains more cholesterol than protein. Excess amounts of LDL cholesterol go to the arteries and deposit there as plaques, which can clog the arteries and impede circulation.

In general, your total cholesterol level should be less than 200 mg/dl. It is considered to be high when it reaches 240 mg/dl. The level of your LDL cholesterol should be less than 100 mg/dl so as not to cause any problems. Once it reaches 130 mg/dl, you are already considered to have borderline high levels of LDL cholesterol and your doctor would start to manage your condition. A level of 160 mg/dl and above is already considered high for LDL cholesterol.
How can I decrease my LDL cholesterol level?

If you think that your LDL cholesterol levels are already shooting up, there are several things that you can do in order to lower it.

  • Watch what you eat. You don’t always have to look for the “low cholesterol” label in everything that you eat. In fact, you can eat foods with high HDL cholesterol since they can lower your LDL cholesterol levels. Examples of these foods include oatmeal, high fiber foods, fish, nuts, and olive oil. All of these foods contain healthy fats. Avoid foods that are high in saturated and trans fats since these are sources of LDL cholesterol.
  • Exercise. Studies show that engaging in regular exercise sessions for a period of 12 weeks can significantly increase HDL cholesterol and thereby lower LDL cholesterol. Ideally, you should exercise for 30 minutes each day, five times a week. If you can’t devote that much time in one sitting, you can break down those 30 minutes into 10-minute exercise spurts so as to burn fat, lose weight, and lower LDL cholesterol.
  • Drink water and tea. If you are fond of drinking sugar-containing drinks, then you might want to ditch those because sugars promote LDL. Get rid of sugary and caffeinated drinks in favor of healthier alternatives, such as water and green tea. Green tea contains substances that help reduce LDL cholesterol, while water is an essential component of the body. You may also drink moderate amounts of alcohol in order to improve your HDL levels and lower your risk for heart diseases.

Remember to watch your cholesterol levels, especially your LDL cholesterol. Consult your doctor for proper management of your high LDL cholesterol levels.
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