Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in the body. It may be produced in the body or obtained from the diet. Cholesterol is necessary for production of hormones and cell membranes. Two types of lipoproteins transport cholesterol around the body. High density lipoproteins, also known as HDL, or "good" cholesterol, remove excess cholesterol from the blood and return it to the liver to be metabolized. Low density lipoproteins, also referred to as LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, carry cholesterol throughout the body, allowing excess amounts to build up on artery walls. Thus, a diet high in “bad” cholesterol diet boosts the odds of clogged blood vessels, resulting in restricted blood flow and boosting the odds of heart attack or stroke.
Simple lifestyle modifications, such as losing weight and regular exercise, may help improve cholesterol levels. Limiting daily fat intake to no more than 30 percent, with saturated fat intake limited to 7 percent of daily total calories, can help control blood cholesterol levels. A high fiber diet may be lower in fat and is associated with lower cholesterol levels. Moderate exercise for 30 minutes every day can help control cholesterol to a great extent. Medications may be prescribed when diet and exercise don't work.