Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in the blood, used to build healthy cells. Cholesterol can also be found in some foods, such as saturated fat and trans fats. However, high cholesterol can cause a range of health issues and puts people at risk of stroke and heart attack. However, there are some healthy diet swaps you can make to lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk.
There are no actual symptoms of high cholesterol, with a test having to be done to check the levels in your blood.
If you are concerned about your cholesterol, you can book a GP appointment to test your blood.
A cholesterol test can measure:
- total cholesterol – the overall amount of cholesterol in your blood, including both “good” and “bad” cholesterol
- good cholesterol (called HDL) – this makes you less likely to have heart problems or a stroke
- bad cholesterol (called LDL and non-HDL) – this makes you more likely to have heart problems or a stroke
- triglycerides – a fatty substance similar to bad cholesterol
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And the way you cook your foods can also help, as instead of roasting or frying, you can try:
When it comes to the weekly shop, opt for lean cuts of meat and choose lower-fat varieties of dairy products and spreads.
And including foods which contain plenty of fibre helps lower your risk of heart disease, and some high-fibre foods can help lower your cholesterol.
The NHS recommends adults should aim for at least 30g of fibre a day.
Your diet should include a mix of sources of fibre, which include:
- wholemeal bread, bran and wholegrain cereals
- fruit and vegetables
- potatoes with their skins on
- oats and barley
- pulses, such as beans, peas and lentils
- nuts and seeds