Dr. Russell Greenfield: Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced in the liver. It's also present in some foods. Now, it's important to our health, but having too much cholesterol, especially the unhealthy forms can be harmful.
High Density Lipoprotein or HDL is often called good cholesterol, because it transports cholesterol back to the liver to be eliminated from the body. A good HDL level is 16mg/dL or above. Low levels are associated with a higher risk of heart disease. Low Density Lipoprotein or LDL is called bad cholesterol, because it helps form plaque in the walls of the blood vessels, making them hard and narrow. Your LDL level should be no higher than 129mg/dL, but lower is better, especially for people with or at risk for heart disease.
Now dietary and lifestyle changes can help you manage cholesterol. For example, enjoy a Mediterranean styled diet that emphasizes whole grains and vegetables. Eat small amounts of lean animal protein and explore plant based protein sources, such as fermented Soya products and beans and increase your daily activity to raise levels of heart healthy HDL cholesterol and to improve overall cardiovascular health.
If your cholesterol is still too high, your doctor may recommend medication. Statin drugs for example, are very effective at lowering cholesterol, usually only need to be taken once a day and side-effects associated with their use may be prevented simply by maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D.
So those are just a few ways in which you can be proactive to lower your cholesterol levels.