The elimination of bad cholesterol, the prevention of heart disease, and protection against heart attack and stroke are a few of the major benefits of high density lipoproteins, commonly known as HDL cholesterol. HDL is considered "good cholesterol" that is needed for the overall healthy function of the body, while low density lipoproteins, or LDL, is recognized as a damaging type of cholesterol. The types of foods consumed — namely those without dangerous saturated fats — contribute to the body's supply of HDL cholesterol and provide a number of benefits.
Modern medicine regards HDL cholesterol as a type of cholesterol scavenger. It travels throughout the body and picks up LDL cholesterol, which it transports to the liver to be broken down. This helps rid the system in bad cholesterol removal, which, if left in the body, could be damaging.
Studies have shown that individuals with high levels of HDL cholesterol are less prone to heart disease. As a result, it is assumed that diets high in HDL can help safeguard the body from developing the illness. It can also help combat atherosclerosis, a heart condition marked by plaque and fat buildup within the walls of the arteries. A variety of conditions may result from atherosclerosis, including coronary artery disease, stroke, and heart attack.
By raising the intake of HDL cholesterol, an individual is taking steps to protect himself or herself against heart attacks and strokes. HDL possesses antioxidant properties that help eliminate toxins from the body and support the production of healthy blood. The anti-inflammatory capabilities of HDL further guard the system from the conditions that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Taking in the right amount of HDL cholesterol is a delicate balancing act. The body needs the fats inherent in cholesterol, but individuals should maintain a low level of LDL cholesterol and a much higher level of HDL. In the system, the two types of cholesterol work to even themselves out, and an elevated amount of HDL helps to ensure the harmful cholesterol will be scavenged.
Every individual has differing levels of cholesterol in the body. A simple lipid test can tell how much good and bad cholesterol one has, and a person's diet can be changed accordingly to boost HDL levels. Women who have not yet experienced menopause generally have more HDL cholesterol than men, as the estrogen produced by the female body is thought to raise levels of HDL in the blood.