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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Why might my cholesterol be high despite good genes and a healthy lifestyle?

    I am 40 years old and at my latest check up my doctor said my total cholesterol was a bit high. Why could this be?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Nicole Senior

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    I'm an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist, consultant, author, speaker and food and health enthusiast. I love talking and writing about food and health.(please note, … View Profile

    Healthy living is always a good thing and may actually help reduce the overall impact of having high cholesterol. Carrying extra weight increases cholesterol and many people experience weight gain in middle age. If you can prevent weight gain as you get older this is great for all aspects of your health. It's important to know your cholesterol breakdown too: what is your LDL (bad) and HDL (good) cholesterol? It may be that the overall number is higher than recommended but your ratio may be good because of the positive effects of higher good HDL cholesterol. One of the key reasons your cholesterol may be high is you are not eating enough good fats: the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated ones. If your total fat intake is low, saturated fats are likely to predominate (because they are often hidden or less obvious in foods) and this isn't good. The solution is to add good fats to your diet so they replace the bad saturated ones. A simple example is to swap from butter to margarine for spreading and cooking. Another is choosing low fat dairy foods and snacking on nuts. Using oils like sunflower, canola and olive for cooking and dressings also ups the balance of good fats. Remember a low fat fat diet is not the best for lowering cholesterol: a good fat diet is. And of course enjoy good fats along with heart-friendly foods: wholegrains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, fish, lean meats, low fat-dairy foods, nuts and seeds. If you're not exactly sure how best to do this, see an Accredited Practising Dietitian for individualised advice (find one near you at www.daa.asn.au) or grab a copy of my book Eat to Beat Cholesterol available here http://www.greatideas.net.au/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=Eat+to+beat+cholesterol&osCsid=404273e0420f591f80799fe42062e584&x=33&y=8

  • Chris Fonda

    Dietitian, Nutritionist, Sports Dietitian

    As an Accredited Sports Dietitian, APD and athlete (springboard diver), Chris has both professional and personal experience in sport at the sub-elite and elite level.Chris … View Profile

    Great advice by Nicole here. May I also add that you may be genetically predisposed to high cholesterol if it runs in the family. All the more to follow the advice given by Nicole to lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Apart from diet, keeping physically active and fit can also help to lower your cholesterol, make sure you are doing at least 30mins of moderate (huffy puffy) exercise on most days, preferrably all days of the week.

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