Nebraska Office of Men's Health

Cholesterol

It may surprise you to know that cholesterol itself isn't bad. In fact, cholesterol is just one of the many substances created and used by our bodies to keep us healthy. Some of the cholesterol we need is produced naturally (and can be affected by your family health history), while some of it comes from the food we eat.

There are two types of cholesterol: “good” and “bad.” It’s important to understand the difference, and to know the levels of “good” and “bad” cholesterol in your blood. Too much of one type — or not enough of another — can put you at risk for coronary heart disease, heart attack or stroke.

What is it?
Cholesterol  is a soft, fat-like, waxy substance found in the bloodstream and in all your body's cells. It's normal to have cholesterol. Cholesterol is an important part of a healthy body because it's used for producing cell membranes and some hormones, and serves other needed bodily functions. But too much cholesterol in the blood is a major risk for coronary heart disease (which leads to heart attack) and for stroke. Hypercholesterolemia is the medical term for high levels of blood cholesterol.
These Foods Taste Great (and are good for you, too)
Eat Fruits & Vegetables Not only are fruits and vegetables high in vitamins, minerals and fiber, they're also very low in calories and high in antioxidants, which can help prevent chronic disease. Fill up on an abundance of these delicious and beneficial foods every day.

Focus on Fiber Fiber refers to the indigestible carbohydrates we eat and is found in fruits, vegetables and unrefined grains. It keeps the body's digestive system running smoothly and helps the body feel full, a key to weight management. Most importantly, soluble fiber, which is found in oats, nuts,seeds, apples, pears and berries, helps lower cholesterol.

Go for Low-Fat Dairy To reduce the amount of saturated fat and calories in your diet, replace high-fat dairy products (such as whole milk, cheese, sour cream and cream cheese) with skim or 1% milk, low-fat yogurt, Neufchatel and low-fat cheeses.

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