If you have high cholesterol you aren’t alone: nearly half of all American adults have high cholesterol. Not all cholesterol is bad. In fact, your body makes its own and uses it for many important functions, such as producing cells and certain hormones. However, too much of this waxy substance in the blood clogs arteries.
Cholesterol is carried through the blood in molecules called lipoproteins. The two most commonly discussed in relation to heart health are low density lipoproteins (LDL) and high density lipoproteins (HDL). LDL (bad) deposit cholesterol inside your arteries. HDL (good) carry cholesterol to the liver to dispose of it or recycle it for future cell and hormone production, which makes it less likely that excess cholesterol in the blood will be dumped in the coronary arteries where it can build up.
Your genes determine how much cholesterol your body produces naturally. The rest comes from the foods you eat. EatingWell recommends taking the following steps to help prevent, or lower, high blood cholesterol levels.Next: Cut Back on Saturated Fat »