Good Cholesterol – What makes HDL cholesterol "good" anyway?

by Colin Carmichael

Does the phrase good cholesterol sound weird to you?

Does it remind you of oxy-morons phrases like "jumbo shrimp" or "deafening silence"?

The question many people wonder is this…

Is good cholesterol really good … or just "less bad" than other cholesterol?

We’ve been told time and time again how cholesterol is so bad for our hearts.

And then we start hearing about how there’s a "good cholesterol". It's confusing and doesn't seem to make sense at first.

For a little background, the good cholesterol is the HDL or the high-density lipoprotein. While it’s the LDL (low density) that gets the bad cholesterol label.

So what makes HDL so good anyway?

Well, it helps to first understand what makes the LDL bad and then it starts to fall into place.

The quick, condensed version of the story goes like this…

The LDL carries bad fatty substances like triglycerides around and dumps it in the wrong places.

The end result is that this LDL starts accumulating as plaque on the walls of your arteries.

On the other hand, it's the HDL that carries bad fats – including LDL and triglycerides – through the bloodstream all the way to the liver. And the liver is where it can be safely excreted.

So having enough HDL helps prevent the formation of plaque buildup on your artery walls which is clearly good news.

But some recent research is revealing what may be the best news of all concerning HDL.

New studies are showing that the good HDL may be pulling harmful LDL cholesterol off the artery walls.

This means that higher HDL levels may contribute directly to reducing previously formed plaque from the walls of your arteries.

And anything you can do to minimize or reduce plaque buildup in your arteries makes it easier and less stressful for your heart to pump blood through your body.

Once you know the role each type of cholesterol plays in the build-up of fats (or lack thereof) in your bloodstream, it's easy to see why it's so important to have a good HDL to LDL cholesterol ratio so that you have more of the good cholesterol to offset and literally 'fight against' the bad.

And yes you can increase good cholesterol levels and improve your cholesterol ratio with the right diet and lifestyle changes.

Unfortunately, many of the common tips you hear all the time aren't nearly as effective as they want you to believe. (See unconventional, natural tips here.)

Bottom Line: Your HDL cholesterol really is good cholesterol after all.


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