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Cholesterol: The Good, the Bad, and the Healthy

By Genevieve Cunningham

Cholesterol. How much do you know about it? When most people hear the term cholesterol, they immediately conjure up negative thoughts and emotions. Cholesterol is bad, right? It certainly can be, but it's also true that we need cholesterol. The key is finding the balance, which is a lot easier said than done. If you're ready to live your healthiest life, take a look at what you need to know about cholesterol to keep yourself healthy and strong. 

What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol can be difficult to understand. Why? Because you need it, but you also need to keep it to a minimum. So what is cholesterol? It's a substance that is found in the blood. Your body uses this substance to keep cells healthy and to make things -- hormones and such -- that your body needs. If you have the right amount, it keeps your body working like a well oiled machine. But when we cross over into the too much category, it raises our risk of serious conditions such as heart disease. 

The Good and Bad

Good cholesterol is made by your body in the liver. In theory, this should be exactly what your body needs to be healthy, though everyone has varying levels and certain conditions that may affect it. Bad cholesterol comes from food -- usually from animal products. Cholesterol is described as waxy or sometimes sticky. When we have too much, it can stick to the walls of our veins and arteries, thus narrowing our blood flow. Doctors generally advise us to keep an eye on our cholesterol, both good and bad, in order to lower our risk of disease and prolong our lives. 

How to Keep It In Check

So what can we do to keep cholesterol in check? First, follow your doctor's advice. See your doctor regularly for checkups and blood tests. Besides being under the care of a healthcare professional, one of the best ways to control cholesterol is through diet. Limit the amount of animal products that you need, and always watch your saturated and trans fats. With a healthy diet, you can lower the bad cholesterol, raise the good cholesterol, and improve your overall state of health.

If you aren't sure about your own cholesterol levels, head to the doctor for a check. Keeping an eye on this part of your health can only help you in the long run. Cholesterol is a balancing act. Get help, listen to your healthcare professional, and live as healthy as you can in order to enjoy a happy, healthy life for years to come. 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Alexandria, Va.

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