There are two types of cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is “good” cholesterol and helps support your body’s functions while not raising your risk of cardiovascular disease. LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, raises your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Saturated fats, like those in coconut oil, red meats, and dairy, can raise your LDL and lower your HDL. Unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fatty acids, do the opposite. They can be found in avocados, nuts, and some oils such as olive oil. Trans fats are never good for you and should be avoided entirely. They have been found to be a major cause of cardiovascular disease. They can still be found in some processed baked goods.

There are two major causes of high cholesterol: poor diet and sedentary lifestyle, and genetics. The best way to know what your risk is to have your blood checked! If your cholesterol is high, there are some things you can do to lower your risk.

  1. Get some exercise. Find a fun way to get your steps, like going for a walk with your family, have a dance party in your kitchen, create a steps challenge on Virgin Pulse.
  2. Find a way to get more unsaturated fats in your diet and lower your saturated fat intake. Avocados, lean meats, and olive oil are easy and yummy choices.
  3. Increase your fiber intake by incorporating raspberries, dark colored vegetables like beets, carrots, and broccoli, and stock your pantry with beans.
  4. If you have genetically high cholesterol, and lifestyle changes don’t help, your doctor may prescribe medication to help.

By making small changes, you can make big changes in your risk of heart disease and get down with cholesterol.

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