Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that occurs naturally in all parts of the body. Your body needs some cholesterol to work properly. But if you have too much in your blood, it can combine with other substances in the blood and stick to the walls of your arteries. This is called plaque. Plaque can narrow your arteries or even block them. You are likely to have high cholesterol if members of your family have it, if you are overweight or if you eat a lot of fatty foods.
You can lower your cholesterol by exercising more and eating more fruits and vegetables.
The ability of dietary intervention to improve cholesterol level varies depending on a person's Apo E genotypes. The APOE gene makes the protein Apolipoprotein E (Apo E) which is involved in the production, delivery, and utilization of cholesterol in the body. There are three common forms of the APOE - E2, E3 and E4. The APO E3 genotype is considered normal and occurs in about 84% of Native Indians and Asians. E2 (carried by about 13% of Caucasians) is associated with lower levels of cholesterol while E4 (carried by about 30% of Africans and African Americans) is associated with higher levels of cholesterol.
The E4 allele appears to be the most responsive to low-fat and low-cholesterol dietary intervention. Apo E4 carriers benefit most from low fat, high-carbohydrate diets while people with Apo E2 genotype benefit most from high-fat, low-carbohydrate diets. Carriers of the E2 allele respond best to diets containing oat-bran, tea, fruits and vegetables. A long-term increase in dietary fiber enhances fat absorption in people with Apo E3 genotype.