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Cholesterol levels matter, regardless of how young you are. A 35-year-old who lives with high cholesterol for two decades could see her risk for heart disease increase by 93 percent. To avoid that fate, cut out trans fats and cigarettes, limit saturated fats, and pick up these heart-happy foods.

1. Avocado

When overweight people had an avocado a day as part of a moderate-fat diet, they lowered bad (LDL) cholesterol by 10 percent and total cholesterol by 8 percent compared with when they ate an average American diet, according to research. "Avocados contain fiber and other nutrients that help block the body’s absorption of cholesterol," says lead study author Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD.