Cholesterol and the correct LDL to HDL Ratio


Cholesterol is a chemical compound that is primarily found in the blood stream and cells. Cholesterol resembles soft wax and is integral for smooth bodily functions, as it is required to maintain the health of cell walls, generate certain vital hormones, and make vitamin D as well as bile acids that aid for fat digestion. A majority of the cholesterol found in our bodies is produced by the liver and the remaining cholesterol comes from our diet. However, the body requires only a limited quantity of cholesterol in order to get its job done. In fact, too much cholesterol in the body can lead to a number of problems, namely cardiovascular related diseases.

A feature of cholesterol is that it will not dissolve in the blood and hence passes through the body via a protein package that is referred to as lipoproteins, which in turn are categorized as:

  • Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL)
  • Very Low Density Lipoproteins (VLDL)
  • High Density Lipoproteins (HDL)
  • Triglycerides

What is LDL Cholesterol?

LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins), also known as bad cholesterol, is a kind of molecular protein that increases the risk of heart related ailments. Contrary to HDL cholesterol, LDL does not transport cholesterol from the body and hence it deposits fat or cholesterol mostly in the inner walls of arteries, which feed the brain as well as the heart. In the long run, it results in the formation of a hard, thick deposit called plaque. This in turn makes the arteries narrower and inflexible thus leading to a condition known as atherosclerosis. Any kind of clot or block in the narrowed artery can cause problems like heart attacks or strokes. If you are at risk to develop heart related diseases, it is recommended that you keep your LDL cholesterol level below 70.

What is HDL Cholesterol?

HDL or High Density Lipoproteins serve as cholesterol scavengers, as they eliminate excess or bad cholesterol found in the arteries as well as the blood by transporting it to the liver, where they fragment to enable for its easy removal. As a result, they slow down the formation of arterial build-ups thus keeping heart diseases at bay. In fact, the higher the HDL, the more effective it is for healthy body functions. Hence, HDL is often known as good cholesterol.

What is a good LDL to HDL ratio?

The ratio of HDL to LDL represents the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol. This ratio is calculated by dividing the LDL cholesterol with the HDL cholesterol. A ratio of 3.5:1 is regarded as normal and healthy. The better the ratio, the lesser will be the chances of heart-related diseases.

Cholesterol Chart

Included in this cholesterol chart is the recommended cholesterol levels in the blood, along with borderline and high risk cholesterol measurements.

Cholesterol Level in Blood



High Risk

Overall cholesterol

Below 200

200 - 240

Above 240

Low DL Cholesterol

Below 130

130 - 160

Above 240

HDL Cholesterol

Above 50

50 - 40

Below 40


Below 150

150 - 500

Above 500

How do I raise HDL Cholesterol?

Altering your lifestyle by blending a healthy diet with proper exercise is the answer to raise HDL cholesterol and lower LDL or bad cholesterol. Mentioned below are some effective tips that help to boost your HDL levels in natural way:

  • Include in your diet foods that are rich in soluble fiber and omega-3 acids. Among the foods that contain a high content of soluble fiber are brown rice, whole grains, oats, and fruits like apples and grapes. Likewise, foods such as dark green vegetables, sunflower oil, and canola oil are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Include at least two to three servings of soy products in your diet per day.
  • Avoid the use of foods containing trans-fatty acids, such as cookies, cakes, and French fries.
  • Limit the intake of high fat dairy products and opt for lower fat options instead.
  • Reduce the consumption of alcohol. Consuming a limited amount of wine can be effective to elevate HDL cholesterol levels and your metabolism.
  • Perform aerobic exercises such as walking, jogging, and cycling regularly.

    Also see
    Good Cholesterol

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