What is good cholesterol?

What is good cholesterol (HDL)?

Before we start explaining what HDL is, it is essential to know what cholesterol is. 

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance produced in our organism and precisely in the liver. But it can also be found in some animal-based foods that enter our body, such dairy products and meat. 

High levels of cholesterol in the blood may cause several cardiovascular diseases, the most common being coronary artery disease. 

Good cholesterol, also known as HDL, High Density Lipoprotein, is the substance that absorbs the bad cholesterol that goes throughout the blood to carry it back to the liver, where it will be flushed out of the body. 

Difference with the bad cholesterol

The difference between the two cholesterols lies primarily in the molecular density of the lipoproteins and the effect each has on the human body.

Very high levels of low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol makes it easier for LDL to stick to the inner walls of blood vessels, gradually reducing their diameter. A person with unhealthy habits that include the consumption of LDL-rich foods can cause their blood vessels to become entirely clogged and suffer from several heart and cardiovascular diseases.

On the other hand, high-density lipoproteins or HDL are in charge of absorbing the LDL particles circulating free in the blood to carry it back to the liver, where they will be biotransformed for subsequent excretion. 

To avoid high levels of bad cholesterol in the blood, it is best:

  • not to smoke;
  • exercise daily;
  • maintain a healthy weight; 
  • adopt a healthy and balanced diet with foods enriched with HDL.

Foods that contain HDL

Many foods provide our body with good cholesterol, but here are an non-exhaustive list of the most-known: 

  • fatty fish: sardines, salmon, tuna, rainbow trout, mackerel, etc;
  • grapes, berries and nuts;
  • olives and avocados;
  • (extra) virgen olive oil;
  • natural dried fruits.

Overall, a balanced diet that includes a wide variety of plant-based foods will always be effective in combating bad cholesterol.

Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that a diet with high levels of HDL does not always ensure low levels of LDL in the blood. In this regard, if you suffer from bad cholesterol, we recommend that you visit a specialist for personalised treatment.

With more than ten years of experience, at ECOPROLIVE, we specialise in developing natural olive-based products that maintains the high levels of polyphenols and other compounds naturally present in the fruit. We aim to help consumers eliminate toxins and reduce oxidative stress in the body by promoting a healthy food culture that prevents the development of cardiovascular diseases, neoplastic diseases and other conditions of vascular risk and inflammatory processes.

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