Cholesterol. It’s not only one number you need to know anymore. You will want to know what you LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein) levels are too.

You see, cholesterol doesn’t dissolve in the blood. It is carried between cells by lipoproteins in the blood. LDL cholesterol is the bad stuff. Too much of this is what causes health problems. On the other hand, HDL cholesterol is the good cholesterol. Your body manufacturers HDL for your protection. You want a high HDL level, and a low LDL level.

Cholesterol is everyone’s concern. Even children who have a family history of heart disease and high cholesterol can suffer themselves from high cholesterol. Unhealthy eating habits and not enough physical exercise have the same affect on children they do on adults.

Cholesterol can affect anyone, young or old, thin or fat. It’s a common misconception that someone who is thin must be healthier and have low cholesterol. Not true!

The best way to protect yourself and your family from high cholesterol is through sound nutrition and exercise. Choose to eat foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Increase your dietary fiber intake. Exercise for at least thirty minutes each and every day.

You’ll want to stick with unsaturated fats. These are fats that are derived from plant sources like nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. In that category are the following oils; soybean, olive, corn, safflower, sunflower, canola.

Avoid saturated fats, which are mainly fats derived from animals. This includes whole milk dairy products (ice cream, milk, cheese), red meat, the skin of chicken and egg yolks.

Oatmeal and oat bran is good for you by helping to bring down those bad LDL levels. In fact, the FDA gave oatmeal a “health claim” in 1997. Fatty fish such as tuna, trout, salmon, sardines and mackerel contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, good fats. These omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower the fat known as triglycerides in the blood stream. Walnuts are also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.

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