What’s the Difference Between Good and Bad Cholesterol?

By  //  June 28, 2022

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When it comes to figuring out how to pursue the best possible health for your life, you have to embrace the fact that your journey is going to look unique to you and your story. No two people are the same and everyone will have a slightly different experience with different aspects of their health.

When it comes down to it though, one of the best ways to embrace what makes your health journey unique is to implement lifestyle changes. 

Things like diets and rigorous gym routines can have their place and even be effective at times, but largely real health is attained over a lifetime. So finding ways to learn how to make long-term, healthy decisions is one of the best ways to ensure that you are setting yourself up for success and not a failure on your health journey. If you have been looking into what ways you can start to take more control of your health, you probably have run across the issue of cholesterol. 

In fact, with so many cholesterol-related health issues in the general population, it’s easy to think of this word as nothing more than a boogie-man of health. While cholesterol, when it’s out of control, can cause some serious problems, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, there are generally thought to be two different types of cholesterol, good cholesterol and bad one. 

If you have been trying to find ways of improving your body’s relationship with cholesterol, knowing the difference between the two is crucial. Here is everything you need to know about the difference between good and bad cholesterol, and how you can take easy steps to improve your cholesterol and get the health you want!  

What Exactly is Cholesterol

So the first thing to tackle, is what exactly is cholesterol? Cholesterol is a waxy substance that travels through your blood and it is made in your liver or taken in through your diet. This substance is not necessarily bad, however, there are different types of cholesterol that can cause serious health problems if not regulated or dealt with appropriately. 

With so much negative press surrounding this molecule, it could be easy to wonder why your body even makes it if it only harms your health. Well, the truth is cholesterol actually has good uses inside of your body, and it’s important that your liver synthesize this particular molecule. Cholesterol plays a role in the synthesis of certain vitamins like vitamin D and is also used to help maintain healthy organ function. 

The problem is that it takes very little cholesterol to do the ‘good’ things that your body needs it to do. The liver is capable of creating the amount of cholesterol needed. Where most people get into trouble is that they begin to introduce amounts of cholesterol into their system that they were never intended to. This can create bad cholesterol which then leads to the health issues that cholesterol is famous for. 

What is Good Cholesterol?

So what exactly is good cholesterol? Well, there are two different general kinds of cholesterol and the ‘good’ cholesterol is known as HDL or high-density lipoprotein. An HDL is composed of lipids, cholesterol, and protein and they travel through your bloodstream and collect cholesterol from your body. Once collected, HDL then takes the cholesterol back to the liver where it is eliminated from the body. 

This healthy form of cholesterol is what is commonly known as good cholesterol because it helps to regulate cholesterol levels throughout the body. The liver is responsible for creating the cholesterol that your body needs for important functions, but it’s also meant to dispose of the excess cholesterol that your body doesn’t need, and HDL helps it do this. 

What is Bad Cholesterol?

Bad cholesterol is known as LDL or low-density lipoprotein. This cholesterol travels through the bloodstream like HDL, but instead of collecting cholesterol and bringing it back to the liver, it actually leaves deposits of cholesterol throughout the bloodstream. This is known as ‘bad’ cholesterol, because of the fact that this waxy substance can build up in arteries causing atherosclerosis.

Artherscolorsis is caused by the build-up of cholesterol within arteries and can actually be deadly because it raises the chances of both heart attacks and strokes. The most prevalent way that people introduce LDL to their system is through their diets. By eating foods that are high in cholesterol, you can encourage your body to produce LDL.

Conclusion

One of the best ways to help keep your cholesterol levels healthy is by watching your diet and taking supplements to lower cholesterol levels. One supplement that has been shown to help keep your cholesterol levels low is omega-3 fatty acids. Your body isn’t capable of producing omega-3 fats, so you have to take them in through your diet. Supplements like omega-3s have been shown to help drastically lower your cholesterol and keep you healthy!