Cholesterol - Lucid Smart Pill Cognitive Health

Don’t Be Duped, ‘Good’ Cholesterol is Healthy For You

You’ve probably heard or repeated one of the most overused food myths from the last 25 years; cholesterol is bad for you. It’s been blamed for heart disease, liver cancer, high blood levels and has been demonized in the food industry. However, what often is left out of the conversion is that there are two distinct types of cholesterol; HDL and LDL, and one of them is fundamental to your well-being and long-term cognitive ability and physical health.

So what is cholesterol? Well, cholesterol is a soft waxy substance that’s found in every part of your body, your blood, your cells, your brain – it’s everywhere and your body needs it.

It’s so important to your body that cholesterol is known to help in the formation of your memory and is vital for better brain function. Cholesterol helps helps to create cell membranes, increase hormone production, process vitamin D and produce bile acids that helps your body digest fats.

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In fact, your liver is responsible for creating up to three quarters of your body’s cholesterol. Below, I’ll break down the two types of of cholesterol and why it’s important to know the difference:

High-density Lipoprotein (HDL)

HDL is the good guy in your body. This, bigger, fluffier cholesterol type helps to keep the bad cholesterol away from your arteries and removes any excess build up from your from arterial plaque. It’s well known that HDL removes cholesterol build up from your arteries and acts like a ‘vacuum cleaner’ for the LDL in your body, sending it to your liver. Your liver then expels the cholesterol from your body, helping educe your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

An ideal HDL level is 60 milligrams/deciliter (mg/dL) or above. Your HDL is considered low if it’s below 40 mg/dL.

Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL)

LDL is the bad guy in your body. This cholesterol type circulates in your blood and is believed to be the reason build up occurs in your arteries, forming plaque that narrows your arteries causes them to be less flexible. This is a condition called atherosclerosis. Worryingly, if a clot forms in one of these narrowed arteries, there is a severely increased chance that it will lead to heart or brain disease, resulting in a heart attack or stroke.


A triglyceride is the fatty acids derived from food when they are circulating in our bloodstreams. High levels of triglycerides are bad and are caused mainly by excessively high carbohydrate intake. Elevated levels of this dangerous fat have been linked to heart disease and diabetes, whilst other causes of high levels are linked to being physically inactive, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol excessively and being overweight or obese.

Bodily Cholesterol Regulation

Intelligently, your body can actually make it’s own cholesterol and then decide to moderate the amount or ‘down regulate’ if it senses too much cholesterol in the blood. Studies have shown that when people are prescribed on cholesterol-controlling drugs, your body will counter-intuitively up-regulate the production, as it tries to make more to compensate for what’s missing.

Despite previous medical and pharmaceutical consensus, however, new studies are showing that dietary cholesterol (cholesterol derived from animal products) may actually stop or lower inflammation, prevent clots from forming, provide support for your immune system, and help reduce or prevent disease causing mutations in cells.

Studies have also shown that countries with higher than average cholesterol have less heart disease, however there are a number of other factors to consider when looking for links. People with the lowest cholesterol as they age are at highest risk for cognitive impairments, dementia and brain degeneration, heart disease, and death.

The Lesson: Eat High HDL Foods

We’ve put together a list of foods which are high in HDL cholesterol, this will actively reduce your bad LDL levels and keep your blood levels in more optimal ranges. Remember, it’s key to keep a balanced diet and ensure your blood levels are being checked regularly.

In case you couldn’t tell, we at Lucid are passionate about body betterment, neuro-enhancement, productivity & focus. To be kept up to date on any other blogs or infographics, add yourself to our community mailing list.
Hendrik Kruizinga

Hendrik is the Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Lucid. He avidly pursues great design, experiential products and the a daily dose of betterment.