Health & Medical Cardiovascular Health

What Is a Good Ratio for LDL to HDL?

    About LDL Cholesterol

    • When too much LDL cholesterol is present in the blood, it causes build-up in the arteries. This plaque makes arteries less flexible, which causes a narrowing of the arteries. High levels of LDL cholesterol increase the risk of stroke and heart attack, according to the American Heart Association.

    Healthy LDL Levels

    • LDL levels of 100 mg/dL are the healthiest range, according to the American Heart Association. 100 to 129 mg/dL is close to optimal, and 130 to 159 mg/dL is a borderline problem. Cholesterol levels of 160 to 190 mg/dL and above are very high, and could be dangerous.

    About HDL Cholesterol

    • HDL cholesterol is referred to as "good cholesterol" because it appears to reduce the risk of heart attack, according to the American Heart Association. Experts believe that HDL cholesterol carries "bad cholesterol" away from the arteries, where is can safely pass from the body.

    Healthy HDL Levels

    • An HDL cholesterol level of 40 mg/dL or lower for males and 50 mg/dL or lower for females increases the risk of heart disease. Having an HDL cholesterol level of 60 mg/dL or higher appears to reduce the risk of heart disease, according to the American Heart Association.

    Tips for Lowering LDL and Raising HDL Cholesterol

    • Trans and saturated fats increase LDL levels, according to the Mayo Clinic. Reduce saturated fat to 10 percent or less of your daily calories. Instead, choose fats that promote healthy HDL levels, such as olive oil, peanut oil and canola oil.

      Trans fats should be eliminated from your diet. Theses fats are bad for both your LDL and HDL levels. Dietary cholesterol should be limited to 200 mg or fewer each day, and organ meats and whole dairy products should be eliminated.

      Fresh water fish, such as salmon and mackerel, have been linked to higher HDL levels (which is the good cholesterol). Add these foods to your diet to promote heart health, recommends the Mayo Clinic.

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