HDL stands for High-Density Lipoproteins and LDL stands for Low-Density Lipoproteins. These proteins are carriers of cholesterol. Cholesterol does not dissolve in the blood, they get transported to the bloodstream by these lipoproteins, more specifically HDL.
Is Cholesterol totally bad for the body?
The answer is NO! Cholesterol, in fact, is quite useful for the body when it is maintained within the limits. People often get tensed when they hear the word cholesterol. Not many people actually know the uses of cholesterol.
• Cholesterol can be used to synthesize certain important steroid hormones in the human body, like androgen and estrogen in the reproductive parts.
• They are also a precursor to Vitamin D. The term precursor is used because Cholesterol forms one of the bases for the production of Vitamin D.
• It is required to maintain the membrane fluidity of various organelles which is one of its important functions.
These are just a few of the many functions of cholesterol. Now that you know the good effects of cholesterol, let’s talk more about their carriers.
What is the major difference between LDL and HDL?
• LDL cholesterol is considered as a bad cholesterol as it contributes to plaque. Plaque is a thick dense substance that blocks the arteries and leads to various heart issues like atherosclerosis or can cause a heart attack or may cause a stroke.
• HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, is considered to be a good cholesterol. HDL plays a vital role in the transportation of LDL back to the liver where it is broken down into smaller components. These smaller components are relatively harmless.
• The level of HDL should be higher than LDL for a healthy life.
The main structural difference between HDL and LDL is the amount of cholesterol and protein composition. 25% of LDL is protein but 50% of HDL is protein. Since proteins have a greater density than fat the name “High Density” arises.
What are the appropriate levels of HDL?
HDL cholesterol levels greater than 60mg/dl (milligram per deciliter) is quite good and can carry out its functions effectively. If its level falls below 40mg/dl the functioning gets impaired and may lead to various heart diseases as discussed above.
What can you do to improve your HDL levels?
• Doing Aerobic Exercises can greatly help in increasing the levels of HDL. Exercise for 40-60 minutes regularly to keep your heart pumping.
• Stop Smoking. The tobacco present in cigarettes is a major cause for the reduction of HDL.
• Maintain good Food habits like taking olive oil, peanuts and canola oils. These oils have monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids that improve the HDL’s abilities.
• Nuts and Fish like salmon have Omega-3-fatty acids in them that have the ability to convert LDL into HDL. Make sure you have good quantities of this food to maintain your body in good shape.
Now that you know what cholesterol really is and what good and bad it does to you maintain a correct approach to the cholesterol intake to keep your heart smiling.
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