Not all cholesterol is created equal. The term cholesterol is synonymous with bad health. When the term is discussed, it's always in a negative connotation, usually describing someone who has just suffered a debilitating stroke or heart attack. Most folks leave it right there, and do not want to know any more about the subject. However, knowing that there are indeed different types of cholesterol is important in order to monitor and maintain one's health.
How do I maintain good heart health?
The standard answers may sound warn, but they do bear repeating for anyone who finds themselves in the situation of deteriorating heart health. If you know a person who has heart issues, chances are that part of the problem can be traced to (LDL) or low density lipoprotein in the blood. The higher the number, generally above 200 on a blood panel, the more pronone the person is to heart damage or stroke. (LDL) or the bad cholesterol is the waxy sticky substance that is formed by the digestive system. This sticky by-product primarily results from what we eat. In addition, other causes of high (LDL) can come from your own liver. Stress has also been identified as a cause for excess (LDL) in the blood. The best way to control this problem is a diet low in saturated fat. In addition, quitting smoking and exercise is also important for raising your good cholesterol.
Does Omega 3 fish oil boost good cholesterol?
The good cholesterol that the body produces is known as (HDL) or high density Lipoprotein. What most people miss in the overall cholesterol discussion is that there are two types of cholesterol for a reason. Raising your good cholesterol through the intake of fatty acids like DHA and EPA, which are found in cold water fish, serves to counter act the effects of bad cholesterol. Fish oil has been clinically proven to raise your (HDL) levels up to eight percent according to studies conducted at the University of Milano.
So, what does HDL actually do?
High density lipoprotein acts as the cleaning crew in the arteries that run through the human body. As the particles of (HDL) travel through the arteries, they attach to the sticky particles of (LDL) and remove them from the artery walls. For those who have low levels of (HDL), there is an increased chance of stroke or heart attack. Omega 3 fish oil boosts the levels of (HDL) in the body resulting in less chance for coronary damage. According to the American Heart Association, adults with a level of (HDL) below 40 mg / dl are at risk of developing coronary heart disease. Keeping a (HDL) level above 40, and closer to 60 mg / dl is considered optimal.
Other types of Omega 3 that help raise HDL Levels
In addition to Omega 3 fish oil, other types of foods contain Omega 3 fats known as alpha linolenic-acid. Flax seeds contain this fatty acid and have been proven to work at elevating (HDL) levels as well. Flax seeds however, do not contain the fatty acids DHA or EPA, which are found in cold water fish like tuna or mackerel. For those who do not care for fish as a part of their diet, but want to take advantage of the benefits provided by Omega 3 fish oil, there are fish oil supplements available on the market. When making a purchase of fish oil, make sure to check the contents to be sure that there are high levels of the fatty acids, EPA, and DHA.
Now that you know the difference between bad cholesterol (LDL) and good cholesterol (HDL), you can be proactive in taking care of your heart by boosting your good cholesterol using Omega 3 fatty acids. To your good health!