Cholesterol can be both good and bad so it’s important to know how to lower your cholesterol. The molecule is naturally produced in the body but can also be found in many foods we eat with a waxy, fat-like appearance. A healthy amount of cholesterol helps us produce healthy cells, hormones, and vitamins. However, too much can produce plaques in our arteries, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Lowering Your Cholesterol
In order to avoid having high cholesterol, you should have a heart-healthy diet that is low in fat and high in fiber. Such a diet would include fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It’s also important to limit foods that contain high levels of: cholesterol (animal foods, meat, and cheese), saturated fat (dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, meats, and processed foods), and trans fat (some fried and processed foods).
Other conditions that can lead to high cholesterol include:
- Liver or kidney disease
- Pregnancy & other conditions of increased levels of female hormones
- Underactive thyroid gland
- Steroids and other drugs
Regular exercise – about 150-minutes a week – and avoiding smoking can also cut down on your cholesterol level. A healthy person should get his or her cholesterol tested at least once every five years but for those who have a history of or are being treated for high cholesterol, they should get checked at least every six months if not more.
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