Cholesterol is a waxy substance made by the liver. Therefore it is only found in animals - it cannot be found in plants. In human beings, we tend to test for HDL and LDL cholesterol. We want the HDL to be high and the LDL to be low.
Another substance we test for is triglycerides. Both cholesterol and triglycerides fall into the lipids category. So, on many test results, there will be:
LDL, or bad cholesterol
HDL, or good cholesterol
First, the basics of HOW you eat have a direct effect on your cholesterol levels. If you go for long periods of time without food, and then gorge because you're really hungry, this can cause your cholesterol to go up. You need to eat small, regular meals and healthy snacks throughout the day. You can't skip meals - you need to eat breakfast.
Your cholesterol levels are NOT really based on how much cholesterol you ingest - it depends primarily on how many UNHEALTHY FATS you ingest. That is why it is so important to have your diet contain a good mix of healthy fats (olive oil for example) and other healthy foods.
Fats and cholesterol in a food's components often are high together, which is why people get confused. It is the bad fat content you really want to watch. In fact, you can easily have a cholesterol-causing food that is high in bad fat and low in cholesterol!
Next, certain vitamins are critical in having a healthy cholesterol level. While it's important in general to drink eight glasses of water a day and take a vitamin supplement, the two most important vitamins to take as far as cholesterol goes are vitamin E and vitamin C. Both help to raise your HDL levels.
There are also foods you can include in your diet to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Key to this task is garlic. Foods that are high in vitamin E and C are always good. Examples for Vitamin E would be almonds, spinach, and avocados. For Vitamin C, look into kale, bell peppers, and chili peppers.
Pour yourself a glass of wine, too. The resveratrol in wine has been shown to help lower cholesterol, as well as provide other health benefits. Drink wine in moderation, just a glass or two each day.
On the other hand, avoid coffee. Decaffeinated coffee is even worse than regular caffeinated coffee as far as raising your LDL cholesterol levels.
Vitamin E - Cholesterol and Brain Power
Garlic Lowers your Cholesterol
Lisa Shea's Library of Low Carb Books