Cholesterol is a type of fat that is part of all animal cells. It is essential for many of the body’s metabolic processes, including the production of hormones, bile and vitamin D. However, there’s no need to eat foods high in cholesterol. The body is very good at making its own cholesterol – you don’t need to help it along. In fact, too much cholesterol in your diet may lead to heart disease.
Health authorities provide recommend cholesterol levels If there are other cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure or pre-existing cardiovascular (heart) disease then the recommended levels are lower. In developed countries approximately half the adult population has elevated cholesterol levels. A one in two risk!
This makes high blood cholesterol a major health concern.
Lifestyle tips to cut cholesterol
Changing some of your lifestyle habits may also help to reduce your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Suggestions include:
Cease alcohol consumption or reduce your alcohol intake to no more than one or two drinks a day. Avoid binge drinking. This will to help lower your triglyceride levels.
Don’t smoke. Smoking increases the ability of LDL cholesterol to get into artery cells and cause damage.
Exercise regularly (for example, at least 30 minutes of brisk walking daily). Exercise increases HDL levels while reducing LDL and triglyceride levels in the body.
Lose any excess body fat. Being overweight may contribute to raised blood triglyceride and LDL levels.
Control your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. High blood sugars are linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis (‘hardening of the arteries’).