Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in the blood. It’s mainly made in the body and plays an important role in how every cell in your body works. However too much cholesterol in the blood can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Cholesterol is carried around the body by proteins. These combinations of cholesterol and proteins are called lipoproteins:
LDL (Low density lipoproteins) is harmful/bad cholesterol
HDL (High density lipoproteins) is protective/ good cholesterol
Having too much cholesterol in your blood can increase your risk of getting cardiovascular diseases. The risk is especially high if you have high levels of LDL & low levels of HDL.
Triglycerides are another type of fatty substance in the blood. They are found in foods such as dairy products, meat and cooking oils. They can also be produced by body either by fats store or in the liver.
People who are very overweight, eat a lot of fatty and sugary foods or drink too much alcohol are more likely to have a high triglycerides level. People with high triglycerides level are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease than low levels.
What causes High cholesterol?
A common cause of high cholesterol levels is eating too much of saturated fat.
Some people may have high cholesterol even though they eat healthy diet. i.e familial hyperlipidaemia.
The cholesterol which is found in some foods such as eggs, liver, kidneys and some sea foods eg prawns doesn’t usually make a very big difference. It’s more important that you eat foods that are low in saturated fats.
How can I reduce my cholesterol level?
- Cut down on saturated fats
- Eat fish regularly
- Eat a high fibre diet
- Do regular physical activity