You probably know that cholesterol is one of the most harmful substances, because it can clog your arteries, leading to serious conditions like heart disease, renal failure and stroke.

In fact, not all cholesterol is bad for you.

This substance in moderate amount helps maintain cells flexibility and build some hormones. However having too much cholesterol may cause harm to your health.

Credit: Freepik

Credit: Freepik

Lipoproteins are molecules, which carry cholesterol and other fat-soluble chemicals (including some vitamins) from the blood flow.

High-density lipoproteins deliver cholesterol from the blood to the liver. High amount of low-density lipoproteins results in accumulation of the cholesterol in vessels, reducing their lumen and creating fatty plaques. This process is medically called atherosclerosis.

As you age, your arteries become more and more clogged. Family predisposition also plays an important role in developing atherosclerosis.

Credit: Freepik

Credit: Freepik

Event though you can't change your age and family history, you still have ability to control cholesterol levels, changing your lifestyle and diet. Here is what to do:

#1. Shed extra pounds – being overweight or obese can lead to numerous health problems. Be aware that excessive weight is associated with increased cholesterol levels. Losing at least 5-10% of the weight can help you cope with this problem effectively.

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Credit: Freepik

Credit: Freepik

#2. Stop smoking – tobacco can damage your vessel walls and decrease ability of the cells to transport cholesterol from blood to the liver. Quitting smoking can enhance “good” HDL cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease.

#3. Remove unhealthy fats from your menu – you don't need to exclude all fats from your diet. But it's extremely important to stay off trans fats, found in packaged crackers, chips and other commercial products. Limit consumption of saturated fats, contained in red meat. Replacing them with healthy fats (from olive oil, nuts, seeds and oily fish) can help keep your arteries clean.

Credit: Freepik

Credit: Freepik

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#4. Boost your physical activity – regular exercises can help you maintain healthy weight and keep cholesterol under the control. Find activity and exercises, you will be fond of, and perform them at least 30 minutes every day (or most days of the week).

#5. Add fiber – it was found that soluble fiber, found in beans, oats, fruits and vegetables, can lower low-density lipoprotein levels and bring heart-healthy benefits in this way.

Credit: Freepik

Credit: Freepik

#6. If you drink alcohol, do this in moderation – according to recommendations, you should limit yourself in one alcohol beverage a day, if you’re a woman. Men are allowed to drink up to two drinks per day. This amount can help you slightly increase HDL cholesterol levels, without causing harm to overall health. However there is no reason to start drinking alcohol for those, who didn't take it before.

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The BetterMe Team wants you and those close to you to live a healthy, happy life! Your health is a valuable thing; look after your body and your mind so that you can live your life to the fullest – Remember you only get one!

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