What is Cholesterol ? – Good or Bad Levels

Cholesterol is an oil based & waxy found in human blood. Primarily it is produced by the liver, But it is also available in foods like red meat, high fat cheese, whole eggs, etc. Cholesterol can be categorized as both good and bad. A rapid increase in bad cholesterol level can lead to health problems such as increased risk of heart attack, peripheral artery disease, atherosclerosis etc.

Essential Functions performed by Cholesterol

  • Construction of Cell Walls.
  • Production of Vitamin D in the body.
  • Generation of bile acids in the intestine.
  • Secretion of necessary hormones such as testosterone.

However, If you follow a healthy lifestyle and have proper nutrition then you can always maintain healthy cholesterol levels. But, You need to educate yourself about the two cholesterol types i.e. HDL & LDL.

The Good 

High-Density Lipoprotein(HDL)

This is the Good Type of cholesterol. It transfers all the excess cholesterol back to the liver, where it is broken and hence it is passed out from the body.


  • Beans & Legumes.
  • Flax Seeds
  • Olive Oil
  • Fatty fish(Such as Tuna, Salmon)
  • Whole Grain
  • High Fiber Fruit
  • Nuts
  • Avocado

The Bad 

Low-Density Lipoprotein(LDL)

This is the Bad type of Cholesterol. Excess of LDL can cause a build up in the arteries which can make them narrower for the blood to pass properly. This increases the risk of coronary heart diseases. Thus, it is always suggested to consume food items that have low levels of LDL in your diet to have a healthy lifestyle.

Sources(Always keep these under moderation)

  • Ghee.
  • Fatty meat and meat products.
  • Full fat cheese, Milk cream and yogurt(All dairy products with full fat).
  • Coconut Oil, Palm Oil and Coconut cream.

A healthy diet and exercise plan is the key to keep these levels under check. Also, you should take enough sleep to have a healthy lifestyle and avoid bad habits such as Smoking & Drinking Alcohol.

Levels, Ranges, and Causes of High Cholesterol

Being Obese or overweight can lead to high risk of coronary heart diseases. Genetics can also contribute to high Cholesterol levels. However, abnormal Cholesterol levels can also be caused due to:

  • Diabetes.
  • Liver or Kidney Disease.
  • Ovary Syndrome.
  • Pregnancy or increased levels of female hormones.
  • Hypothyroidism(Underactive Thyroid Gland).
  • Drugs that increase the level of LDL and decrease the levels of HDL(such as Anabolic steroids, corticosteroids).

In an adult, The cholesterol levels less than 200 milligrams per deciliter(mg/DL) are considered to be healthy.

  • 230 and 239 mg/DL is borderline high
  • Anything above 240 mg/DL is considered very high.

LDL  levels should always be less than 100 mg/DL

  • 100 to 129 mg/DL is acceptable for a person with no health problems but it can be a concern for people with heart disease or heart disease risk factors.
  • 130- 159 mg/DL is borderline high.
  • 160- 189 mg/DL is High.
  • 190 mg/DL is very High.

HDL Levels should always be kept higher. The best reading for HDL is 60 mg/DL or higher.

  • 41 – 59 mg/DL is considered to be borderline low.
  • Anything less than 40 mg/DL is considered to be very low and involves a major risk of heart attacks.

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