Cholesterol comes from two different places. It’s in the food we eat and our bodies produce it naturally. But reducing the cholesterol in our diets doesn't have to be all bad.
Twice a year nutritionist Sky Joiner teaches a Heart Healthy Cooking Class at Jeff Anderson's Hospital. Sky says learning to eat healthy isn't that hard, but takes a conscious effort.
"Every time you put a bite in your mouth you can choose whether you want to make it a healthy bite or take in something that's gonna decrease you chances of being healthy," said Joiner.
One of the easiest ways to make that happen is to plan ahead before you go to the grocery store, and just don't buy the junk.
"What we're really wanting to do is to change your overall lifestyle, and the guidelines as far as what we want cholesterol levels to be are continuing to get lower," said Joiner. "So that makes it even more important to learn how to cook and how to make good choices."
Better food choices are not the only healthy changes we can make that really impact our health. Being more active is hugely important in choosing a healthy lifestyle.
Trainers suggest 20 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three or four times per week for best results. It doesn't have to be strenuous; low impact walking will do. And if you can't make that happen, anything is better than nothing.
"You can do 5 or 10 minutes in the morning if you have a break and 5 or 10 minutes in the afternoon if you have a break, so anything is going to be beneficial," said Stacey Stanley, a trainer at Jeff Anderson's Health and Fitness Center.
Stanley also says it's never too late to start. So what was the verdict on those heart healthy recipes?
"There wonderful! I think everyone needs to know that you can have fat free and sugar free and sodium free food that is delicious," said participant June Ferguson.
Joiner says it just comes down to choices and changing the way we think about the option to be healthy. Her motto is: "If it's greasy on the fingers, it's bad on the heart."