Understanding Cholesterol: LDL VS. HDL

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that can be found in all of the cells throughout your body. Your body uses this substance to make hormones, vitamin D, and other substances that aid in digestion. When too much cholesterol is circulating throughout your body, you are at an increased risk of developing a host of health conditions.

Although your body makes all the cholesterol it needs, you continue to bring cholesterol into your body through the foods you eat. This makes it essential that you understand the types of cholesterol, as well as what foods contain each.

LDL (Bad) cholesterol

LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein and is oftentimes referred to as the “bad” cholesterol. This is because LDL contributes to the fatty buildup that leads to atherosclerosis. This is a condition characterized by the thickening of the walls of your blood vessels, which puts you at an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and PAD.

Foods that are high in LDL include:

  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Red meats
  • Cured meats
  • Sugary sodas and juices
  • Fried foods

HDL (Good) Cholesterol

HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein, which is sometimes called the “good” cholesterol. DL helps to carry LDL out of the arteries and to the liver, where it can be broken down and removed from the body. However, it is important to note that HDL can only carry about a third of the body’s LDL to the liver, making it unable to eliminate it completely.

Foods that are rich in HDL include:

  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Prunes
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Olive oil
  • Fatty fish like salmon and tuna
  • Blueberries
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Oranges
  • Nuts and seeds

Cardiovascular Care in Titusville

When it comes to supporting your cardiovascular health, it is important to find a specialist you can depend on. The Cardiovascular Team at Parrish Medical Center is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network and has a proven quality and safety track record in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of heart, pulmonary (lungs), and vascular conditions.

Learn more information about our cardiovascular services and take out Heart Risk Assessment today.

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