Cholesterol is a sort of fatty, waxy stuff – it’s not very nice to look at – and your own body produces it every day. Your liver produces it, in fact. And for good health it’s a necessary component. Strangely enough, it’s a part of every cell in your body.

Cholesterol helps our bodies to do certain, rather important things.

  • Keep cell walls healthy
  • Help the body to produce enough vitamin D
  • Aid in digestion. It helps to produce the stomach acids for digesting fat

So that means we need cholesterol and we actually produce it ourselves because it’s so important. You also get a certain amount from some foods: from animals, like meat or dairy.

Fruit and vegetables contain absolutely no cholesterol at all.

If the body produces too much cholesterol it sits in the blood stream. Because of its waxy nature it can ‘stick’ and that eventually can block your blood vessels. Such a blockage increases your risk of heart diseases and stroke, which is sometimes called the ‘silent killer’. Anyone who eats a lot of animal fats, known as saturated fats, can produce too much cholesterol. A high cholesterol level can be dangerous and should not be ignored. There are various types of cholesterol and they each have a different role to play in your health. LDL is the ‘bad’ cholesterol. LDL stands for Low Density Lipoprotein. This is the one that can increase your chances of getting heart disease by clogging up your arteries. When that happens blood flow through the artery is diminished.

HDL is the so-called ‘good’ cholesterol. This is the opposite of LDL, so it’s High Density Lipoprotein. This has the effect of ‘sweeping up’ the ‘bad’ cholesterol, or LDL, from your blood stream. Because the two types of cholesterol have very different effects it’s important to know your cholesterol ratio. To know whether you have a normal cholesterol level you need to know your LDL and your HDL levels. According to some estimates 26% of male deaths in the UK are due to coronary heart disease of one kind or another. High cholesterol is a factor in those deaths. Think of it this way: next time you’re standing next to 4 men, statistically one of them will die of some form of coronary heart disease.

Lowering cholesterol naturally is an attractive option for many. Remaining on cholesterol medication for any length of time is something a lot of people want to avoid. So start by making wise choices in the foods you eat. There are low cholesterol foods, for example an average egg has about four times the cholesterol of a piece of fish, for example, so choosing the fish could help you have a lower cholesterol level. It’s been estimated that if you reduce your cholesterol by one percent you can decrease your chances of heart disease by twice that – a 2% reduction. That means even small changes can bring big benefits.