Although cholesterol has received a bad reputation in the diet community, it is not inherently bad. Cholesterol is a type of fat in the body that helps to build cells. There are two kinds: healthy HDL cholesterol and unhealthy LDL cholesterol. Too much LDL can raise your risk of heart attack and stroke.
There are several ways to prevent high cholesterol, and some may surprise you. You may not know that full-fat milk is healthier than skim milk, or that you don’t have to exclude saturated fats. Here are the habits, diet advice, and knowledge that you need to keep your cholesterol levels healthy.
First, Check If It’s Genetic
Some people can inherit high cholesterol. The condition is called familial hypercholesterolemia and is often undiagnosed. The American Heart Association says that if you have a family history of high cholesterol or early cardiac death, you may want to get tested for the condition. It is an “invisible” disease, meaning that it shows few to no symptoms.
Because of a genetic mutation, familial hypercholesterolemia causes harmful LDL cholesterol to be unusually high. According to the Familial Hypercholesterolemia Foundation, people who leave it untreated are at an increased risk of heart disease. Cholesterol tests and medical history can diagnose the condition.