Of all the dietary questions that are out there, these may be the simplest questions to answer. But, I wouldn’t let the simplicity of the questions fool you though. Knowledge of cholesterol levels are not just for Mom and Dad or Gramps and Granny. We should all be aware of what foods that are high in cholesterol and what our levels should be.
Having good or bad levels of cholesterol should be a good indicator of your health story-past, present and future. There are a few important numbers to consider for referencing your cholesterol levels and we will illustrate them below (Total, LDL & HDL)
Brief description of Cholesterol
Cholesterol is an essential component of every cell in your body, giving cell membranes strength and flexibility
Your liver produces all of the cholesterol that your body needs to function.
Since cholesterol doesn’t mix well with liquids (blood), it’s transported by particles called lipoproteins, including low-density and high-density lipoprotein
These are based on the type of protein that transports it through the bloodstream:
- Low-density lipoproteins deposit one type of cholesterol throughout the body. As this kind of cholesterol is likely to build up, people often refer to it as “bad” cholesterol.
- High-density lipoproteins (HDL) collect bad cholesterol from the arteries and bring it back to the liver for disposal. For this reason, people refer to HDL cholesterol as “good” cholesterol.
Cholesterol circulates in the blood. As the amount of cholesterol in your blood increases, so does the risk to your health. That’s why it’s important to have your cholesterol tested, so you can know your levels.
Cholesterol levels for adults
- Total cholesterol levels less than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) are considered desirable for adults. A reading between 200 and 239 mg/dL is considered borderline high and a reading of 240 mg/dL and above is considered high.
- LDL cholesterol levels should be less than 100 mg/dL. Levels of 100 to 129 mg/dL are acceptable for people with no health issues but may be of more concern for those with heart disease or heart disease risk factors. A reading of 130 to 159 mg/dL is borderline high and 160 to 189 mg/dL is high. A reading of 190 mg/dL or higher is considered very high.
- HDL levels should be kept higher. A reading of less than 40 mg/dL is considered a major risk factor for heart disease. A reading from 41 mg/dL to 59 mg/dL is considered borderline low. The optimal reading for HDL levels is of 60 mg/dL or higher.
Cholesterol levels for children
By comparison, acceptable levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in children are different.
- An acceptable range of total cholesterol for a child is less than 170 mg/dL. Borderline high total cholesterol for a child ranges from 170 to 199 mg/dL. Any reading of total cholesterol over 200 in a child is too high.
- A child’s LDL cholesterol levels should also be lower than an adult’s. The optimal range of LDL cholesterol for a child is less than 110 mg/dL. Borderline high is from 110 to 129 mg/dL while high is over 130 mg/dL.
Foods that have dietary cholesterol
Cholesterol is found in animal foods. Animal foods include meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and milk products.
Foods that do not have dietary cholesterol
Plant foods (such as beans and peas, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds, vegetables) do not contain dietary cholesterol.
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