When it comes to your cholesterol levels, the old adage of "an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure" holds true once again. It is much better to prevent a buildup of bad cholesterol in your body than it is to find yourself faced with the task of reducing your cholesterol. Let's be clear about what is meant by "bad" cholesterol. There are two types of cholesterol: HDL and LDL. HDL is good for your body, while LDL is bad for your body and is the main cause of cholesterol in the body.
Cholesterol occurs in the body when there is more fat consumed than the body can break down. This excess fat builds up in blood vessels and can cause constriction or blockages in blood vessels, leading to a host of cardiac issues, including heart attack and stroke. The liver, when overloaded with fat, produces cholesterol to help it break the fats down, which in turn are released into the blood stream where they adhere to the walls of veins and arteries.
A diet heavy in saturated fats, especially red meat, is commonly to blame. Other causes include a lack of fat-burning exercise, which is the only way the body can rid itself of fat. People with diabetes or thyroid issues are also at risk because of the high levels of triglycerides in their bodies. Estrogen production in women produces HDL, meaning that after menopause, there is a drop in good cholesterol in the body, which can lead to a cholesterol imbalance. Cholesterol issues can also be genetic.
Monitor your cholesterol and take any changes seriously. Eating right and exercising are simple lifestyle habits that can help to ensure your HDL/LDL levels stay balanced. Studies have also shown that increasing HDL levels in the body can mitigate the effects of LDL, so make sure that you're getting plenty of those good fats in your diet.