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Between the years 1598 and 1699 Sir William Shakespeare wrote the comedic play ‘As you Like it’ and discussed the concept of having too much of a good thing. Over the years this phrase has had many practical applications - having too much time, too much money and too much cake on your birthday. But when it comes to cholesterol it really is a case of too much of a good thing is bad for your health.

Cholesterol is a substance that is produced in your liver; it creates hormones and cell components. You produce around 1000 milligrams of cholesterol a day but you also obtain it through the foods you eat.

And to confuse it even more - there is more than one type of cholesterol. Like the characters in Shakespeare’s plays, the different types of cholesterol in your system play a different role. Low density lipoprotein (LDL) plays the role of a villain that deposits fat into your arteries, narrowing them and reducing blood flow to your heart, and increasing your risk of heart attack. The heroic character in your system is high density lipoprotein (HDL) which fights the excess cholesterol in your blood and delivers back into your lover to be broken down.

So what are my cholesterol levels? - That is the question.

Having your cholesterol checked identifies if you have too much of a good thing. If your cholesterol is too high, it isn’t the “be-all and end-all”. There are things you can do to take control and lower your risk of heart disease, like introducing more fibre into your diet and beginning a regular exercise routine. Your goal is to balance cholesterol levels and ensure the villainous LDL is not vicious.

*Always read the label, use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional.

** Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 7 grams of soluble fibre from psyllium husk, as in Meta products, may lower cholesterol levels. Reductions in cholesterol levels may contribute to reducing the risk of heart disease. Consult a doctor if you are planning to take Meta products as part of a cholesterol lowering program.

^ Whorwell Clinical Trial, UK 2006. Am J Gastroenterol. 2006 Jul;101(7):1581-90