Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance that is in the cells of your body. Some cholesterol is needed to make vitamin D and hormones. It also helps to aid in digestion. The food you eat contains cholesterol. It spreads throughout your body via the bloodstream in packages with fat on the inside and proteins on the outside. These packages are called lipoproteins and are either low density or high density, LDL and HDL. Your body needs healthy levels of both of these. The build up in your arteries is caused by LDL, the bad cholesterol. The cholesterol is brought back to your liver by HDL, which is good. Your liver is responsible for removing cholesterol from your body.
How can you keep your cholesterol at normal levels?
- Maintain a healthy weight. Keep your portions small. Most of us overestimate the size of a portion and it results in overeating.
- Keep your stress levels under control. Learn to put things in perspective and avoid drama. Some things are beyond your control and accepting this will make your life easier.
- Move more. Physical movement helps to balance levels in your blood.
- Avoid alcohol. Drink more water or tea. Stay away from situations and events which typically involve a lot of alcohol consumption.
- Eat healthy meals. Avoid fast foods, trans fats, processed meats and snacks made with hydrogenated or saturated fat.
There are rarely symptoms of high cholesterol. It usually comes to light during standard blood tests ordered by your doctor. High cholesterol can lead to dangerous deposits on your arteries which reduce the flow of blood. Eventually this can cause a heart attack. If your blood work shows that your cholesterol is higher than it should be speak with your healthcare provider regarding medications and lifestyle changes that you can make.