LDL (low density lipoproteins): aka bad cholesterol causes build up in the artery walls which leads to heart problems. a healthy level for LDL would be <130 mg/dL. but it's also tricky because it depends on a persons heart disease risk factors. if a person has no risk factors then it can be as high as 160mg/dL, but if a person has more risk factors and/or already has heart disease it should be lower than 100 mg/dL.
HDL (high density lipoproteins): aka good cholesterol because it helps get rid of bad cholesterol. HDL levels should be 40 mg/dL or higher. the higher the better with this one.
VLDL (very low density lipoproteins): also bad cholesterol similar to LDL as it is made up of mostly fat and very low protein. VLDL should be less than 150 mg/dL
total cholesterol levels should be less than 200 mg/dL
foods that can lower cholesterol:
- high fiber foods
- oat bran
- olive oil
- fish and omega 3's (salmon, tuna)
- nuts (walnuts, almonds)
another tip as far as eating goes is to keep your saturated fats low. eating a lot of red meats is not a good thing. america is a meat country but that is half the problem with all of the obesity and unhealthy problems we see. keeping red meat consumption to a minimum and incorporating fish and/or vegetarian proteins in your diet will also help with cholesterol as well as other problems such as weight.
exercising is my final suggestion. obviously exercise is always going to increase health (without injury...i am not a good example) and in combination with a healthy diet cholesterol can be lowered with time and your body will also benefit as a whole.