Cholesterol numbers can be confusing. Here’s a brief overview from Prediman K. Shah, M.D., the director of cardiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. “The single best predictor of cardiovascular disease is your non-HDL cholesterol, which is total cholesterol minus HDL. In a presentation at the American Heart Association conference, Dr. Shah and his colleagues found that non-HDL beat every other cholesterol calculation in predicting who would develop heart disease over an 11 year follow-up period. To stay in the safe zone, aim for a non-HDL level of 130 or less.