In order to reduce your cholesterol levels it may be beneficial to have a general understanding of cholesterol and the role it plays in your body. Generally, there are two types of cholesterol:
1) Bad Cholesterol (aslo known as LDL-cholesterol) - which is responsible for depositing cholesterol in the walls of your arteries, increasing your risk of high blood pressure and a heart attack.
2) Good Cholesterol (also known as HDL-cholesterol) - which helps to remove excess cholesterol in your bloodstream and arteries, essentially protecting you against heart disease.
For these reasons, you want your bad cholesterol to be low and your good cholesterol to be as high as possible. When you had your blood test your doctor would have tested your total cholesterol and both the good and bad cholesterols. The higher your total cholesterol is, the more likely it is that the bad cholesterol is also high, therefore your risk of a heart attack is also increased.
Lifestyle modification plays an important role in reducing cholesterol levels, such as:
- Reducing your fat intake (particularly the bad fats known as saturated fat)
* Swap to low fat dairy products (such as milk, yoghurt, cheese, etc)
* As cheese is quite high in cholesterol, limit to 1-2 times a week'
* Trim all visible fat off your meat and remove the skin on chicken
* Choose lean meat varieties (NOT devon, sausages, frankfurts, salami, liverwurst etc)
* Limit takeaway to 1-2 times a week
* Swap butter for margarine
* Limit the consumption of processed foods, such as biscuits, pastries, pies, sausage rolls, chips/crisps, chocolate etc
- Increase ‘good fats’ (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats) which will help increase your good cholesterol levels
* Enjoy fish, particularly oily fish such as salmon, tuna, mackeral, sardines etc which are high in good fats at least 2 times a week (alternatively fish oil tablets can be taken - you need 3000mg everyday to get the benefits, which is normally around 3x 1000mg capsules)
* Use olive oil or canola oil in cooking instead of vegetable oils or butter
* Try a handful of nuts as a snack instead of crisps etc
* Look for a breakfast cereal with flaxseed/linseed
- Increase your fibre intake (fibre competes with cholesterol for digestion)
* Enjoy 2 serves of fruit everyday (1 serve = 1 apple,1 banana, 1 orange,1 pear, 2 kiwifruit
* Enjoy at least 5 serves of vegetables everyday (1 serve = 1 potato, 1/2 cup cooked
vegetables, 1 cup salad etc)
* Swap to wholegrain or wholemeal breads, cereals and pastas where possible
* Enjoy Oats/Porridge in these colder months (full of beta-glucan which helps reduce
- Increase physical activity (exercise) which will help increase the good cholesterol
For more information on ways to reduce your cholesterol it may be worthwhile seeing an Accredited Practicing Dietitian. Good luck!
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