High cholesterol level is a major risk factor for heart disease. It is important to know about types of cholesterol & fat to follow a healthy diet for a healthy heart.
Bad Cholesterol (LDL) :
Low Density Lipoprotein(LDL) can slowly build up in the arteries forming a hard deposit & thereby block it, resulting in a heart attack or stroke. That’s why LDL is called the bad cholesterol. The optimal level of LDL should be less than 100mg
High Density Lipoprotein(HDL) is the good cholesterol. High levels of HDL reduce the risk of heart disease.
High levels of triglycerides indicate high LDL levels and low HDL levels & therefore high levels of triglycerides(above 500) can cause heart disease.
Types of fat:
- Saturated fat – Increases LDL .Not good for heart. Found in red meat, whole fat dairy products, chips, pastries etc
- Unsaturated fat – Heart healthy fat. Increases HDL Found in fish, nuts, olive oil and avacadoes
- Trans fat – Increases LDL & Reduces HDL. Not good for heart.
High LDL / Low HDL / High Triglyceride can cause
- Heart disease
Food – Good for Heart
- Oatmeal is full of soluble fibre, which lowers bad cholesterol
- Nuts (Walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts & pine nuts)
- Fatty Fish (Salmon, Tuna, Herring, Sardines)
- Soy protein is found to reduce bad cholesterol
- Olive oil reduces bad cholesterol.
Food – Not so Good
- Red Meat
- Whole fat Dairy products
- Deep fried food of any variety
- Fast foods
- Pre-packaged and processed food (have high sodium content & can contribute to heart disease)
Ways to prevent heart diseases
- Regular Exercise : A moderate activity for atleast 30 minutes a day
- Proper diet : Have a balanced diet consisting of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and moderate amount of lean meat, fish and olive oil. Before buying food, read the product label & check out the amount and type of fat.
- Quit Smoking
- Reduce Alcohol consumption : Consumption of a moderate amount of alcohol specifically Red Wine may be good for heart as it contains flavanoids and antioxidants. But too much alcohol consumption is not good as it increases blood pressure & damages liver
Bad Cholesterol (LDL) Numbers Categorization
|LDL level in mg||Category|
|Less than 100||Optimal|
|100 – 129||Near optimal/above optimal|
|130 – 159||Borderline high|
|160 – 189||High|
|190 and above||Very high|
Good Cholesterol (HDL) Numbers
|60 and above||Optimal|
|Less than 40 in men and less than 50 in women||Low|
Triglyceride level should be kept under 500.