Dr. Dean Ornish believes that your body has a remarkable capacity to begin healing itself, especially from heart disease. It can happen much more quickly than many people realize if you address the underlying causes. One of these causes is cholesterol, which can be brought under control.

First, get your cholesterol checked by a doctor. Dr. Ornish says that it's an easy, affordable test that everyone should have. After you have your numbers, set one of these numbers as your goal:

Total cholesterol of less than 150 mg/dl
—or—
LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol)l less than 95 mg/dl
—or—
Ratio of total cholesterol divided by HDL(good cholesterol) equal to 4 or less.

Most Americans have levels above these numbers. If your numbers are too high, and you don't have heart disease, you can begin to move toward better health. Make moderate reductions in dietary fat and cholesterol; for example, if you're eating six eggs a day, reduce that number to three. Make choices that you can follow; the key is moderation.

Have your blood levels checked again in four to eight weeks, and if you've reached your goal, stay with your new eating patterns. If your cholesterol is still too high, progressively reduce the amount of fat and cholesterol in your diet until you achieve your goal.

If you are unable to achieve these cholesterol goals with changes in diet and lifestyle alone, please talk with your doctor to see if you may benefit from taking cholesterol-lowering medication.