Cholesterol is found in the fats and lipids of our foods, and is also produced by the liver. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL), AKA the ‘bad’ cholesterol, is a major contributor to plaque, which can slowly build up in the arterial walls and can effectively narrows the arteries, restricting blood-flow, and can clog your arteries while making them less flexible. Plaque can be incredibly dangerous as most of us know, and it can lead to the formation of clots which can block arteries, causing a stroke or heart attack. HDL, or high-density lipoproteins, also known as the ‘good’ cholesterol, takes the excess cholesterol of the body and brings it to your liver. There, your liver prepares it for disposal from your body, or transports it to other areas of your body where it is needed.

If you plan on living a long and healthy life, it's important to get your cholesterol under control. To help you get you started, we’ve prepared this helpful guide to help steer you in the right direction towards a healthier lifestyle and a better you.

Know your cholesterol levels:

First thing's first: you need to test your cholesterol levels. It’s important to know what your cholesterol levels are so that you know what you’re dealing with and how to react. EverlyWell offers a convenient at-home Cholesterol & Lipids Health Test to help you get started. After mailing in your sample, you'll receive your results in just 5 business days!

Eat smarter (It tastes better than it sounds, we promise!)

It's important to understand the difference between saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats lead to an increase in cholesterol levels, while unsaturated fats help to lower cholesterol.

-- Saturated Fats:

  • Hard fats such as lard, butter and margarine.
  • Fatty meats ie: burgers, steaks, sausages, bacon
  • Dairy fats like those found in cheese, whole milk, yogurt, and creams
  • Pies, pastries, cakes and other desserts

    -- Unsaturated Fats:

  • Vegetable oil, seed oils, and nut oils (sunflower, olive, corn etc.)
  • Nuts of all kinds
  • Avocado
  • Oily fish such as salmon, trout, herring, mackerel and others

    -- Also Consider Adding These Healthy, Cholesterol Reducing Foods to Your Diet:

  • Oats: A breakfast containing 2 servings of oats can actually lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Toss out the beer. Drink red wines made with fiber-rich grapes.
  • Drink black tea instead of coffee
  • Beans, beans & more beans
  • Dark chocolate
  • Garlic
  • Spinach

    Daily exercise

    Whether it's 5, 10, or 30 minutes, everything helps and goes the distance. Shoot for 30 minutes a day of exercise. You can split the time up throughout the day however best works with your busy schedule. And after your workout, be sure not to make these 5 common mistakes that could make or break your health.

    Stay active in small ways

    Walk the dog, walk yourself, jump-rope, spin in circles; whatever you do: BE ACTIVE. Seriously, that Netflix show you’re currently binging will still be waiting for you when you get back. If you're at work, take a 5 or 10 minute break to simply move your body. A simple walk outside everyday can even help reduce blood pressure, regulate your weight, and reduce your risk of heart disease.

    Take a follow-up test

    After 8 weeks of dedication to improving your cardiovascular health, take a follow-up test to monitor the results of your efforts. Luckily, EverlyWell now offers a subscription service for a lower cost that can help you easily keep track of your cholesterol levels! Taking control of your health has never been easier.