September is a good time to get your cholesterol checked and take steps to get it under control.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat found in blood and is found in foods we eat including eggs, meats, fish and whole-fat dairy products. Foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain none. Our body also makes cholesterol. Risk factors that can lead to high cholesterol include being overweight/obese, poor eating habits, family history, age or gender.
Know your numbers:
U.S. CDC recommends that adults age 20 or older have their cholesterol checked every five years. This can be done with a simple blood test.
Reduce your risk:
By living a healthy lifestyle, you can help keep your cholesterol in a healthy range and lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. A healthy lifestyle includes:
- Eating a healthy diet. Avoid saturated fats and trans fats. Polyunsaturated fats can actually lower cholesterol levels. Eating fiber also can help lower cholesterol.
- Exercising regularly. The Surgeon General recommends that adults engage in moderate-intensity exercise for two hours and 30 minutes every week.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Not smoking. If you smoke, quit as soon as possible.
For more information on cholesterol: