Cholesterol is usually a word we associate with heart health and Cheerios boxes.
Most people know if bad cholesterol levels are too high, there is a greater risk for heart disease. However, most people don’t know what healthy cholesterol levels really are?
What Are Healthy Cholesterol Levels?
You should have your doctor run a cholesterol test every 5 years to make sure your cholesterol levels are healthy.
Keeping your cholesterol levels healthy is an important factor in lowering your chances of getting heart disease or suffering from a stroke.
Here is a chart of what cholesterol levels you should aim for:
Your doctor can tell you where your levels are on this chart and if that is healthy for your age group. Cholesterol levels tend to go up with age and men are at higher risk than women.
If you do have high cholesterol, get tested more frequently and make the lifestyle changes necessary to lower your cholesterol and reach a healthy cholesterol level.
Testing for Types of Cholesterol
A complete fasting lipoprotein will show results for the following related to your cholesterol levels:
Total Blood Cholesterol: Total amount of LDL and HDL in your blood + 20 percent of your triglyceride level.
Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL)v- Commonly referred to as bad cholesterol, LDL cholesterol is what causes plaque buildup in the arteries and leads to clots, heart disease, stroke and heart attacks.
High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) -Known as the good cholesterol, HDL cholesterol helps remove LDL from the arteries and reduces risk of heart disease. Low HDL cholesterol levels put you at higher risk for heart disease.
Triglycerides – Not a cholesterol, but your triglycerides are the most common type of fat found within the body. Low HDL cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol combined with high triglycerides can lead to fatty deposits in the artery walls that increase the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Lower Your Cholesterol Levels Through Diet and Exercise
About 31% of Americans have high LDL levels and only about half of those people are taking steps to get treatment to lower their cholesterol.
Diet to Lower Cholesterol:
Dietary changes make the most impact when it comes to your cholesterol. Our bodies create LDL and HDL cholesterol naturally, but what we eat also affects our levels.
Eating food high in trans fat and saturated fat creates more LDL cholesterol. Foods like pizza, hamburgers, and French fries are all very high in saturated fat. Unfortunately, those are typically the meals we go for in a time crunch and they hurt our cholesterol levels.
Avocados, oats, and nuts on the other hand are low in saturated fat and keep LDL down naturally. Instant oatmeal and a handful of almonds are just as quick as fast food and are far better for your cholesterol.
Exercise to Raise HDL:
Insufficient physical activity and obesity also contribute to higher levels of LDL and triglycerides.
Exercise will help to lower LDL and triglycerides and balance cholesterol levels. HDL levels will rise and keep your blood vessels healthier.
Studies show that 30 minutes of exercise a day, whether it be walking, swimming, or hiking, will help reach and maintain healthy cholesterol levels and make for a healthier heart.
Genetics also play a role in cholesterol, which can be beneficial or unfavorable for your cholesterol. Controlling diet and exercise may not be enough to fully regulate your cholesterol.
Talk to a doctor about what you can do and what medications may be needed as well to lower your cholesterol.
Taking L-arginine to Reduce Your Cholesterol
While exercise and diet are important to getting healthy cholesterol levels, l-arginine is proven to support healthy cholesterol levels.
L-arginine is converted into nitric oxide within the body. Nitric oxide expands the blood vessels and improves blood flow to help eliminate cholesterol deposits from clogging the arteries.
If you’re looking for a safe, natural way to reach healthy cholesterol levels, see our list of top 10 l-arginine supplements.