High cholesterol is a concern that can lead to more disease and ill health. Numerous studies have shown that high levels of cholesterol can lead to early development of coronary artery disease in both humans and animals. About 30% of the nearly 2,000,000 deaths in the US each year are due to coronary heart disease. Plaque buildup is the main reason for blockages in the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. High blood cholesterol is thought to contribute to plaque buildup in the arteries, which impedes blood flow to the brain and kidneys. Gallstones, impotence and mental impairment may all be caused by high cholesterol. High cholesterol can be caused by dietary habits, heredity and certain medications. High cholesterol is linked to foods that are high in saturated, hydrogenated or heated fats such as those found in fried foods, meat, and dairy. Cream substitutes, margarine, vegetable shortening, and other substances also contain saturated and/or Trans fat and cholesterol. High cholesterol can also be caused by genetics. Even though people may not have high cholesterol levels due to their diet, their genetics will still be high. Steroids, high-dose contraceptives and diuretics can all contribute to higher cholesterol levels. Fat is often associated with high dietary cholesterol, but it also serves many important functions in the body. Fat is a concentrated source for food energy and provides essential fatty acid. It is vital for proper functioning cell membranes, skin, hormones, and transporting fat-soluble vitamins. Saturated and unsaturated fats are the most common. Saturated fats can be solid at room temperature. They include meat, dairy, and any liquid made solid by hydrogenation. Unsaturated fats, which are liquid at room temperatures, include polyunsaturated oils (found in vegetable oil), and monounsaturated oils (found in olive or flax seed oils). The linoleic acids family, also known as Omega 6, and alpha-linolenic family, also known as Omega 3, are two very important essential fats found within polyunsaturated oils. These essential fatty acids are not synthesized by the body so they must be obtained through supplementation or diet. These fatty acids help reduce stickiness in the blood, control blood cholesterol and fat levels, improve immunity function and metabolism, and maintain a healthy water balance. These fats are found in many foods but are a bad source of cholesterol and fat. Hydrogenation transforms a polyunsaturated oil into a hard fat (transfats). This makes them more saturated, and less susceptible to spoilage. Although technically it is still considered to be polyunsaturated, the body doesn’t recognize it because it has been refined and processed. Trans fats have been shown to interfere with essential fatty acids metabolism, lower good cholesterol, increase total serum cholesterol, and raise blood glucose levels. Experts and leaders in nutrition agree that lifestyle and dietary changes can help lower cholesterol levels. However, nutritional supplementation and dietary changes are required to lower cholesterol levels. Get plenty of fiber from whole grains, legumes, brown rice, oats, and fruits. Understanding the root cause of your cholesterol problems and making changes in your diet, as well as taking the appropriate supplements, will help you to lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Take the U-turn to lower cholesterol and live a healthier lifestyle.