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SAY 'AAAH' | StayWell

Do Your Heart Some Good

November 02, 1998|BARBARA J. CHUCK

It's called a lipid. It's a waxy substance made by your liver. And it's an important constituent of body cells. It's better known as cholesterol. The more animal products such as cheese or other fatty foods you eat, the more cholesterol your liver makes. With time, cholesterol can build up in blood vessels and clog them. This reduces blood flow to the heart, which can cause a heart attack or stroke.

Controlling your cholesterol can be relatively painless. You might consider going slowly--begin perhaps with incorporating more physical activity into your life. Moving around will strengthen your heart and help lower high cholesterol levels. This doesn't necessarily mean going to the gym; activity is what you make it. Some suggestions:

* Walk the dog.

* Play catch with someone.

* Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

* Trim that messy shrub.

* Get yourself outside.

In terms of food, avoid making liver, kidney and other organ meats a habit; also avoid deep-fried foods or packaged baked goods. Instead, try introducing yourself to fish and skinless chicken, whole-grain breads, fruits and vegetables, and tofu (try it--you might like it). Chat with your doctor about cholesterol if you have any concerns. And you might want to check your cholesterol level every one to three years.

StayWell is a weekly feature designed to help you better manage your health.

Source: Based on information provided by StayWell Co.

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