Without cholesterol, your body couldn't make Vitamin D or digest fats. But with too much of it, your arteries 'harden,' putting you at risk of heart disease. High cholesterol has no symptoms, so if you don't know your numbers, ask your doctor for a test. Then you can make some simple changes to keep your numbers in the healthy range:
Keep it Liquid - Limit or avoid saturated fats, like beef and butter, which usually stay solid at room temperature (ice cream is an exception). Fats that stay liquid - olive and other vegetable oils - are generally heart-healthy.
Go Super - Some 'superfoods' have been shown to lower cholesterol. That includes foods with omega-3 fats (salmon, albacore tuna), polyunsaturated fats (walnuts, almonds) or soluble fiber (oatmeal, apples).
Get Soy-tified - New research found that soy doesn't lower your cholesterol. But as a meat substitute, the low-fat, zero-cholesterol protein in soy burgers and other soy products can help limit your cholesterol intake.
Exercise has also been shown to lower your cholesterol.