Understanding good and bad cholesterol

Blood cholesterol report test

Image by rawpixel.com on Freepik 

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance in our blood, produced naturally by the liver. Some cholesterol comes from the food that we eat. As with all things, too much of the wrong kind of food can bring about issues. 

Bad cholesterol: LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) takes cholesterol from the liver to the body. Having too much of LDL can get stuck on the walls of arteries and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Good cholesterol: HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) transports the cholesterol that the body doesn’t need back to the liver instead of being stuck in blood vessels and clogging up arteries. So high levels of HDL is good because it reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. 

How to maintain healthy cholesterol?

In Singapore we are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to food, and we can definitely choose to eat better. As the popular saying goes, you are what you eat so here are some tips to eat better.

HealthFull Meal Packages, Healthy and Delicious Meals.

Source: HealthFull Singapore

Watch what you eat

  • Know what goes into what you eat, read the labels and recognise ingredients.
  • Eat lean meats instead of fattier cuts of meat.
  • Eat non-starchy vegetables and low-carb fruits.
  • Not all fats are bad. Choose good fats from nuts, seeds and vegetable oils for e.g. olive oil, canola oil and sunflower oil.
  • Avoid saturated fats such as fatty meats, luncheon meat, sausages, butter, lard, coconut oil/cream, full cream dairy and palm oil.
  • Avoid heavily processed food which are typically high in saturated fat, salt and sugar.

For those of us too busy to make our own meals healthy, we can easily get tasty and healthy prepared meals delivered right up to our doorsteps too. At HealthFull, we provide a Healthy Ketogenic Diet which is a modified version of the Traditional Ketogenic Diet, that focuses on weight loss and metabolic health without increasing bad cholesterol. 

Learn more about the science behind the healthy keto diet here.

Young Asian family playing with a kite together and being active in a park.

Photo by Anastasia  Shuraeva

Move more

Being active increases good cholesterol and helps get rid of bad cholesterol. Consider your fitness level and go for what you like. Even simple activities like brisk walking, cycling, or taking the stairs can make your heart stronger. Singapore’s Health Promotion Board recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week for adults.

You don’t have to hit the gym every day to be active. You can make easy choices to move more, such as: 

  • Choose to take the stairs instead of the lift
  • Get off the bus 1 stop earlier and walk
  • Enjoy Singapore’s parks and many green areas with a leisurely stroll

or even

  • Window shop in the many malls we have!

 Monitor your good cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels

Regular health screenings are important to help you adjust or manage cholesterol levels so make your appointments and don’t skip them. Singapore’s Ministry of Health provides guidelines on health screening by age range and gender.

Stop smoking

Smoking prevents good cholesterol from doing its job of getting rid of bad cholesterol.

Speak to your doctor on how to stop smoking.

In certain cases, lifestyle changes may not be enough to bring down the level of bad cholesterol and medication may be necessary.

Now that you have an understanding of good vs. bad cholesterol, the roles they play and how they can be maintained at healthy levels, you can be proactive to reduce the risks of heart disease and stroke with better lifestyle choices.


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