Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all the cells in your body. Your body  needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs. Cholesterol is also found in foods from animal sources, such as egg yolks, meat and cheese. Fruits, vegetables, and grains don’t have any cholesterol. You need cholesterol to help your brain, skin, and other organs to do their jobs. But eating too much fat and cholesterol is a bad idea.

If you have too much cholesterol in your blood, it can combine with other substances in the blood to form plaque. Plaque sticks to the walls of your arteries. This buildup of plaque is called atherosclerosis. It can lead to coronary artery disease, where your coronary artery becomes narrow or even blocked.

Types of cholesterol

Cholesterol in the blood doesn’t move through the body on its own. It combines with proteins to travel through the bloodstream. Cholesterol and protein travelling together is called lipoproteins.

Two main types of cholesterol.

  • LDL(low density lipoprotein)cholesterol, or “bad cholesterol”, carries cholesterol from the liver into the bloodstream, where it can sticks to the blood vessels.
  • HDL(high density lipoprotein)cholesterol, or “good cholesterol”, carries the cholesterol in the blood back to the liver, where it is broken down. Your liver then removes the cholesterol from your body.

Causes of cholesterol

  • Age : your cholesterol level tends to increase as you get older. Even thought it is less common, young people, including g children and teens, can also have high cholesterol.
  • Heredity : high blood cholesterol can run in families.
  • Weight : being overweight raises your cholesterol
  • Unhealthy eating habits : one type is, saturated fat, is found in some meats, diary products, chocolate, baked goods, deep fried and processed foods. Another type, trans fat, is in some fried and processed foods. Eating these fats can raise your LDL cholesterol.
  • Lack of physical activity : with lots of sitting and little exercise, HDL cholesterol becomes lower.
  • Smoking : it lowers HDL cholesterol, especially in women. it also raises your LDL cholesterol.


  • Eat a healthy diet. Eat foods rich in soluble fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Limit drinks and foods that have a lot of fat or sugar, like sugary drinks, and fried foods.
  • Get plenty of exercise, at least 60 minutes everyday.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Lose excess weight.
  • Limit your consumption of foods high in saturated fats. For example, substitute olive oil for butter.
  • Eliminate trans fat from your diet.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Reduce stress.

What to eat

  • Eat monounsaturated fats like those in olive oil, canola oil, tree nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and cashews.) and avocados. These reduce the bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol and also reduce the oxidation that contributes to clogged arteries.
  • Eat beans, peas, lentils, fruit, psyllium and whole grains including oats.
  • Eat turmeric, decreases LDL cholesterol and inflammation.
  • Eat ginger, lowers fat and total cholesterol.
  • Cayenne pepper , decreases the craving for junk food and increases the good cholesterol.
  • Cinnamon, decreases blood sugar, fat, LDL, and total cholesterol.
  • Garlic, lowers total and LDL cholesterol.
  • Eat basil.
  • Eat fenugreek seeds.

Be healthy.

How do you measure cholesterol levels?

A blood test called a lipoprotein panel can measure your cholesterol levels. Before the test, you’ll need to fast (not eat or drink anything but water) for 9 to 12 hours. The test gives information about your

  • Total cholesterol – a measure of the total amount of cholesterol in your blood. It includes both low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
  • LDL (bad) cholesterol – the main source of cholesterol buildup and blockage in the arteries
  • HDL (good) cholesterol – HDL helps remove cholesterol from your arteries
  • Non-HDL – this number is your total cholesterol minus your HDL. Your non-HDL includes LDL and other types of cholesterol such as VLDL (very-low-density lipoprotein).
  • Triglycerides – another form of fat in your blood that can raise your risk for heart disease, especially in women

What do my cholesterol numbers mean?

Cholesterol numbers are measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Here are the healthy levels of cholesterol, based on your age and gender:

Anyone age 19 or younger:

Type of CholesterolHealthy Level
Total CholesterolLess than 170mg/dL
Non-HDLLess than 120mg/dL
LDLLess than 100mg/dL
HDLMore than 45mg/dL

Men age 20 or older:

Type of CholesterolHealthy Level
Total Cholesterol125 to 200mg/dL
Non-HDLLess than 130mg/dL
LDLLess than 100mg/dL
HDL40mg/dL or higher

Women age 20 or older:

Type of CholesterolHealthy Level
Total Cholesterol125 to 200mg/dL
Non-HDLLess than 130mg/dL
LDLLess than 100mg/dL
HDL50mg/dL or higher

Triglycerides are not a type of cholesterol, but they are part of a lipoprotein panel (the test that measures cholesterol levels). A normal triglyceride level is below 150 mg/dL.