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Having high levels of cholesterol is one of many risk factors for coronary heart disease. Smoking, being overweight, being inactive and not following a healthy diet are also factors. Your cholesterol levels should be monitored on a regular basis and controlled in order to help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Cholesterol is the fatty substance, which is produced in our bodies. It is found in foods of animal origins like dairy products, egg yolk, meat, fish and poultry. Foods containing the highest amounts of cholesterol include egg yolks and organ meats such as liver and kidney. It is important to improve your chances of having a long and healthy life and a few basic lifestyle changes will assist in lowering your cholesterol.
A book that will help you assess the amount of cholesterol in your diet is-:
"Food Tables & Labelling" by A E Bender & D A Bender ISBN 0198328141
(See the recommended books section on this site)
You should consult your GP or dietician for dietary advice; here are some useful basic pointers:
Fibre plays an important part in lowering cholesterol.
Here are some examples of foods high in fibre:
Grains: Brown rice, wholemeal pasta, wheatgerm, unprocessed bran and oatbran
Cereals: All-bran, shredded-wheat, oatbran and oatmeal
Fruit: Oranges, grapefruits, mandarins, apples, pears, peaches, grapes, without the membranes or skins removed
Dried Fruits: Apples, apricots, prunes and raisins
Vegetables: Dried beans and peas, celery, carrots, broccoli, green beans, peas, cabbage, asparagus, cauliflower and corn
Raw vegetables: Celery, carrot, broccoli, cucumber, lettuce
Fats and cooking oils
There are 3 main types of fat: Saturated, Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated
Saturated fats raise cholesterol levels, monounsaturated fats can help reduce levels and polyunsaturated are the most effective in lowering cholesterol levels. Butter is best avoided; olive oil should be used only in moderation and ideally use sunflower oil or polyunsaturated margarine wherever possible.
Here are some examples of foods containing the different types of fat:
Saturated fats (Raise cholesterol levels):
Butter, beef, cheese, chocolate, coconut, coconut oil, egg yolk, lard, milk, palm oil, poultry
Monounsaturated fats (Can help reduce cholesterol levels):
Avocado, cashews, olives, olive oil, peanuts, peanut oil, peanut butter
Polyunsaturated fats (Most effective at lowering cholesterol):
Almonds, corn oil, cottonseed oil, fish, hazelnuts, margarine, pecans, safflower oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil.
If you have done all that you can in your diet adjustments and cholesterol levels remain higher than your GP would like to see you may need tablets - normally called statins to help keep your cholesterol down. These tablets are taken at night to reduce any build up of cholesterol during the day.
Cholesterol and Diabetes