You probably know that fried chicken, a doughnut or a loaded double cheeseburger are not the best foods to put in your body. Why? Because foods like these are packed with unhealthy fats and lack many of the important nutrients for heart health. The good news is that a healthy diet can also taste great!
High cholesterol can be prevented and treated. Studies show that keeping LDL cholesterol low not only can prevent someone from developing clogged or narrowed arteries in the first place (primary prevention), but doing so also helps reduce the chance of a heart attack, stroke or related death among people who already have heart disease (secondary prevention).
The opposite is true, too: Those with high levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) – the “good” cholesterol – tend to have cleaner arteries and a lower chance of heart attack and stroke. That’s because HDL acts like a scavenger, helping to find harmful cholesterol and remove it from your arteries.
The challenge is that there are often no signs or red flags of having too much bad cholesterol until it starts to affect your arteries. For this reason, it's important to know your cholesterol numbers and your related risk for developing heart disease, or having a heart attack or stroke.
Keeping LDL-cholesterol levels low is an essential part of staying heart healthy. Adopting a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, keeping weight well managed and, in some cases, taking medications, can go a long way to help.