Cholesterol is a type of fat in he body.

It deposits itself with other tissue on to he inner lining of our blood vessels and clogs them up, causing heart disease, angina, high blood pressure and stroke.

Diet, stress and lack of exercise are the main causes of high cholesterol in the body. Fatty foods, sweet foods, and fast foods and unwholesome foods cause a raised cholesterol in the body. Some people have an inherited tendency to have high cholesterol, which may run in the family. Even children may be affected. These people need close observation and treatment.

Researchers have now found that cholesterol can start building up in the body at an early age, particularly with youngsters who smoke and drink excessively, but above all among people who live in constant stress and do not do anything about it.

Here's how:

1. Help children to eat wholesome meals at school and at home, making some allowances.

2. Eat a lot of fresh organic vegetables and fruits particularly citrus ones - five times a day.

3. Eat a diet low in fat and sugars. A high-fibre diet prevents undue absorption of fats from the gut.

4. Reduce stress. Regular exercise should be combined with deep relaxation techniques in order to reduce the prolonged high levels of harmful hormones in the body.Practicing meditation daily lowers cholesterol, blood pressure and helps heart disease in addition to helping cope with stress and relieve anxiety.

5. Research has shown that the Ayurvedic herb guggul (gum resin from camiphora mukul) or Indian Bdellium has an active ingredient called guggulipid which lowers cholesterol and helps with reduction in weight. The preparation of trifala guggul is recommended for people with weight problem and high cholesterol. Guggul has been used in Ayurvedic medicine since at least 800BC. Patients with heart disease, diabetes and stroke who have high cholesterol have been given this herbal preparation. No significant side effects have been reported other than a mild acidity or diarrhoea.

6. Garlic is now a well-established remedy for cholesterol.

7. Lime blossom and hawthorn berries are western herbs which have been used by western herbalists to reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Consult your doctor if you feel you might have high cholesterol.