Having an excessively high level of cholesterol, also known as lipids in your blood can be harmful to your health. While high lipids itself does not cause any symptoms and would not make you feel sick, it can nevertheless increase your risk of serious health problems like heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
There are two types of lipids in your body – high density lipoprotein (HDL) and low density lipoprotein (LDL). HDL is the good and healthy type while LDL is the bad and unhealthy type.
These two types are naturally produced by your body and you also get them from the foods you eat. When your body has too much of the bad type, it leads to some health problems.
What causes high cholesterol?
Your lipids levels are affected by the things you eat. If you eat too much of foods high in cholesterol, transfat and saturated fat, you can end up with high levels of lipids. Such foods include: butter, meat, chips, and other fried or packaged foods.
Other factors that can cause high lipids include:
- Being obese or overweight
- Physical inactivity
- Having a family history of high cholesterol
- Age (twenty years and older)
- Certain diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure
How can cholesterol levels be brought down?
Maintaining a healthy balanced diet is the major step in reducing the levels of lipids in the body. The foods that you eat have a direct impact on your cholesterol levels, it is therefore important that you:
- Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables
- Avoid foods high in transfat
- Limit you intake of foods high in cholesterol
- Choose fish over meat and poultry
It is also important that you exercise at least thirty minutes every day or most days of the week. If you are overweight, you should lose weight and then maintain a healthy weight.