It’s important to understand cholesterol numbers because tests can be tricky. Simple screening tests done without fasting only measure your total cholesterol and your HDL cholesterol, the “good” type.
They can be accurate, but they give you at least a bulk figure. Even tests like the lipid profile can vary each time you take one. To get accurate numbers, you shouldn’t eat or drink anything except water for 12 hours before the test, and you shouldn’t exercise vigorously for 24 hours. Furthermore, if you’re taking any medication like birth-control pills, ensure the person testing you knows because this can affect results.
What is cholesterol and what does it do
Simply put, cholesterol is a fat-like substance present in every cell of the body. The cholesterol in your cells is used to help with digestion, create structure for cell walls, and produce vitamin D. It also helps make hormones such as testosterone and oestrogen. Your HDL cholesterol is also known as “good” cholesterol because it helps remove bad cholesterol from the arteries to the liver where is broken down and eventually leaves the body. So, no, not all cholesterol is bad!
Cholesterol called LDL and it’s considered to be bad cholesterol because high amounts of LDL accelerate plaque growth in the walls of the blood vessels. This plaque build up causes blockages leading to a heart attack or blood clot.
Understanding cholesterol numbers
For total cholesterol, the National Cholesterol Education Program classifies levels below 200 mg/dl as desirable. A level between 200 and 239 is borderline high. Anything over 240 is high.
Triglyceride levels over 400 mg/dl are high. And, levels over 1000 mg/dl are very high.
For LDL (bad cholesterol), the desirable level is less than 130 mg/dl. The borderline level is 130-159 and the high risk level is 160 and above.
For HDL (good cholesterol), anything lower than 35 mg/dl is high risk. If it is higher than 60, you have a lower risk of suffering from heart disease.
HDL cholesterol + LDL cholesterol + (Triglyceride/5) = Total cholesterol
Coconut oil and cholesterol
Forget about the old myth that all saturated fats are bad for you and all lead to heart disease. Coconut oil can improve overall cholesterol by increasing HDL (good) and lowering LDL (bad) levels simultaneously. This oil helps the body convert cholesterol in the bloodstream into a usable form, thus reducing plaque build-up and arteries.