Cholesterol is a waxy fat like substance that is found in our body. Cholesterol is required to make hormones, Vitamin D and to digest your food. It travels throughout your body in packets made of fat (lipids) and proteins commonly known as lipoproteins.
There are two kinds of lipoproteins low-density lipoproteins also known as LDL and high-density lipoproteins also known as HDL. It is now widely accepted that having high LDL is bad for you and having high HDL is good for you, therefore the term bad and good cholestrol. Triglycerides are the most common fat found in your body.
The total cholesterol in your body is the sum of good cholestrol [HDL] and bad cholesterol [LDL] plus 20% of your trigyceride level. A high cholesterol level means that the total number of blood cells that contain cholesterol are higher than normal. An increased intake of carbohydrates are also known to increase the total cholesterol as carbohydrates increases triglycerides in your body.
So, your goal should be to lower your LDL and increase your HDL. Various foods contain nutrients that can increase your HDL like walnuts and flaxseeds and therefore adding this to your diet is important. Dr. Ronesh Sinha says that its also important to understand the ratio of your total cholesterol to HDL. If your ratio is in excess of 4 [Total cholesterol divided by HDL] your risk of cardiac ailments increases.