Cholesterol is an essential component of cell membranes and without it we simply couldn't exist.

Cholesterol plays a role in metabolic functions and helps muscles grow and repair. However, there are instances when having too much can become a problem. Inflammation is the body's way of healing itself. When inflammation occurs in the arteries, cholesterol is sent to help fix the problem (remember cholesterol makes up every cell in the body).

If successful everything returns to normal. However, if inflammation doesn't stop the body sends more cholesterol to the site and it can build up. This can cause a problem as the body tries to fight inflammation. To reduce the amount of inflammation and lower cholesterol levels follow these 5 easy steps:

1. Reduce body fat. The more body fat you have the chances of high cholesterol are increased. More body fat tends to be a result of a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet full of processed food.

2. Increase your vegetable and fruit intake as both have been shown to reduce levels of cholesterol. Here are 7 of the most nutritious vegetables you can include in your diet.

3. Reduce the amount of alcohol and stop smoking. Both have been proven to increase cholesterol levels in a negative way.

4. Include whole grains and nuts or seeds. Try and reduce the amount of processed or refined carbohydrates in your diet.

5. Limit the amount of meat, processed foods, trans fats and dairy in your diet. If you are eating organic, grass fed meat then that's okay. We are talking about the grain fed, factory run meat that is on many supermarket shelves at present. You really want to limit trans-fats as much as possible from your diet (think chocolate, crisps and chips).

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