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Cholesterol Fact Sheet
 

  High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease - the number one killer of American men and women.  Adopting a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of high blood cholesterol and can get you on the path to wellness!
 
 
  What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a soft, fat like substance found in all your body's cells.  It is used to form cell membranes, hormones, and other needed tissues in the body.  Although cholesterol is necessary for the body to function, having too much of it in your body contributes to heart disease risk.

There are two specific kinds of blood cholesterol - HDL (high density lipoproteins) and LDL (low density lipoproteins.)  HDL cholesterol is commonly called "good cholesterol" because it helps your body get rid of "bad" cholesterol in your blood.  LDL, or "bad cholesterol," causes build up on artery walls.  Your Total Cholesterol level is a combination of both.
 

 
  What foods can increase my total cholesterol?  
x - Fatty red meats
- Poultry skin
- Beef or chicken fat
- Cheese

 
- Butter
- Whole or 2% milk
- Ice cream
- Cream
 
  Limit servings of lean meat, poultry, fish, and seafood to no more than six ounces per day.  (3 oz. is about the size of your palm.)

What foods can help me control my cholesterol?
 
  - Fruits
- Vegatables
- Whole grains
- Beans
 
- Nonfat or 1% dairy products
- Low-fat cheeses
- Cereals
 
  How can I reduce my total cholesterol?  
 
  • Limit saturated fat to less than 10% of calories.
  • Exercise! (walking, swimming, jogging, etc.)
  • Don't smoke.
  • Reduce excess body fat.
  • If you drink, do so in moderation.
  • Eat more fiber (fruits, veggies, whole grains).
  • Limit your dietary cholesterol intake.
  • Make time to relax.
  • Take medication (if prescribed by your doctor).
 
  What is a normal total cholesterol level?
What's "normal" depends upon your age, your culture, and your genes.  The following chart should give you an idea of where you stand.
 
  Total Cholesterol
Less than 200
200 to 239
240 and above
Category
Desirable
Borderline High
High
 
  Recommendations  
  Less than 200 Have cholesterol checked once every 5 years.  
  200 to 239 Have cholesterol checked within 2 months to confirm reading.  
  240 and above Have lipid profile checked to confirm reading and make the necessary lifestyle changes.  
     
  Resources  
   
 

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