Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is naturally produced by your liver and is found in your blood. Cholesterol is used for many different things in your body, but it can be a problem if there is too much in your blood.
Some foods contain cholesterol. This is called ‘colonial dietary’ and is only found in animal products. For many people, eating foods high in dietary cholesterol has little effect on their blood cholesterol.
High blood cholesterol levels are caused mainly by eating foods high in saturated fat and trans-fats and excluding low-fat and fiber foods.
Types of cholesterol
The two main types of cholesterol are:
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) – is also known as ‘bad’ cholesterol because it can increase the buildup of fat (fat) in your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) – is also known as ‘good’ cholesterol because can help protect you from heart disease.
What causes high cholesterol?
Other causes of high blood cholesterol include:
Low-fat diets that contain healthy fats – healthy fats tend to increase good cholesterol (HDL).
High-fat foods containing unhealthy fats (saturated fats and trans-fats) – such as fatty meats, fatty dairy products, butter, coconut oil, palm oil, and high-fat fried foods and baked goods (such as pies, biscuits, buns, and cakes). High trans-fat foods include high-baked products sold as well as deep-fried foods.
Low-fiber foods – foods high in fiber, especially soluble fiber, can lower the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood. Include fiber-rich foods in your diet by choosing vegetables, fruits, beets, nuts, and seeds every day.
Dietary cholesterol (dietary cholesterol) – this has a small effect on LDL (bad) saturated fats and trans-fats in the diet have a very high impact. You can eat up to 7 eggs a week as part of a healthy, nutritious diet that is low in saturated and unhealthy fats, without increasing the risk of heart disease.
Genetics – your family history can affect your cholesterol level (also known as family hypercholesterolemia).
Some people will have high cholesterol even if they follow a healthy, low-fat diet in saturated fats and trans fats. These people may need to take cholesterol-lowering medications as prescribed by their doctor.
Cholesterol and healthy eating
What we eat affects our cholesterol levels and can help reduce the risk of disease. Try to eat a variety of foods from each of these five food groups. This not only helps to maintain a healthy and attractive diet but also provides essential nutrients.
The Heart Foundation recommends that:
Lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
Various sources of healthy protein (especially fish and seafood), legumes (such as beans and lentils), nuts, and seeds. A small number of fatty eggs and chicken can also be added to the heart of a healthy diet. If you choose red meat, make sure it is reduced and limited to 1-3 times a week.
Unpleasant milk, yogurt, and cheese
Those with high blood cholesterol should opt for reduced-fat types,
A healthy selection of oils – nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, and their cooking oil
Herbs and spices in flavor foods, instead of adding salt
Also, remember how much you eat and how you fill it with unhealthy foods. The size of the parts has increased over time and many of us eat more than we need which can lead to obesity and increase our risk of heart disease.
The good thing is that a healthy plate includes – protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables.
Diet size can vary depending on age, gender, and specific nutritional needs.
Healthy eating tips to lower cholesterol
As well as sticking to a variety of healthy foods, try these tips to help you manage your cholesterol:
Limit foods to be taken once a week (such as cakes, pies, pizza, hot chips, fried fish, hamburgers, and creamy pasta dishes).
Limit salty, fatty, and sugary foods once a week (this includes crisps, cakes, cakes, biscuits, lollies, and chocolates).
Eat more vegetables – point to 5 servings of vegetables daily. (1 serve ½ cup of cooked vegetables).
Choose wholegrain bread, cereals, pasta, rice, and noodles.
You can eat empty, unsalted nuts and fresh fruit (especially two fruits every day).
Add legumes (or pulses) – such as chickpeas, lentils, split peas), beans (such as haricot beans, kidney beans, bean baked beans) at least twice a week. Check out food labels and choose low-sodium (salt) products.
Use spreads and margarine made from unfermented healthy fats (such as canola, sunflower, or extra virgin olive oil) instead of saturated fats (such as butter, coconut oil, and cream).
Use healthy oil for cooking – others include canola, sunflower, soybeans, olives (extra virgin is a good choice), sesame oil, and nuts.
Use salad dressings and oil-based mayonnaise – such as canola, sunflower, beans, olive (especially extra virgin), sesame, and peanut oil.
Add 2 or 3 nutritious foods to plants every day (for example, starch-rich margarine, yogurt, milk, and bread).
Have 2 to 3 portions (150 grams each) of oily fish every week. Fish can be fresh, frozen, or canned.
Add up to seven eggs each week.
Choose lean meats (lean meat, and chicken without skin) and reduce raw meat to less than 350g a week.
Choose reduced fats, no sugar milk, yogurt, or non-dairy foods and beverages supplemented with calcium.
Limit or avoid processed meats including sausages and meat dishes (like salami).
If you have a problem with your cholesterol levels, a dietitian can help you eat right for your specific needs.
If you are trying to lower your cholesterol, aim to eat foods high in dietary fiber (especially soluble fiber), as it can lower the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol in your blood.
These foods include:
- legumes (such as chicken, lentils, beans, a combination of three beans, and baked beans)
- wholegrain cereals and food (for example, oats and barley).
Following a healthy, balanced diet with saturated fats and trans fats can help lower your cholesterol.
Plan to replace unhealthy, saturated, and trans-fat foods with foods that contain healthy fats.
Low fat (unhealthy) foods include:
- fatty cuts of meat
- fatty dairy products (such as milk, cream, cheese, and yogurt)
- fast fried food
- processed foods (such as biscuits and cakes)
- removable foods (such as hamburgers and pizza)
- coconut oil
Foods high in trans (unhealthy) fats include:
- deep-fried foods
- baked goods (such as pies, cakes, cupcakes, and biscuits)
High (healthy) foods for polyunsaturated fats include:
- margarine is spread along with oils such as sunflower, soy, and safflower
- oily fish
- some nuts and seeds.
High (healthy) foods for monounsaturated fats include:
- margarine spreads and oils (such as olive, canola, and nuts)
- some nuts.
Triglycerides in your blood
In addition to cholesterol, your blood also contains a type of fat called triglycerides, which are stored in your body fat. Hormones release triglycerides to make energy between meals.
When you eat, your body converts any extra energy (kilojoules) you do not need right from the start into triglycerides.
Like cholesterol, your body needs triglycerides to function properly. However, there is evidence that some people with high triglycerides are at higher risk for heart disease and stroke.
If you regularly consume more energy than you need, you may have high triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia).
Other ways to reduce triglyceride levels include:
- Stick to a healthy diet by following healthy eating recommendations.
- Limit sugary, fatty, and salty foods and snacks.
- Limit the consumption of sugary drinks (such as cold, moderate drinks, energy drinks, and sports drinks)
- include healthy omega-3 fatty foods (for example, fish such as salmon, sardines, and tuna).
Treatment of high cholesterol
Making lifestyle changes, especially changing some of the foods you eat, and exercising regularly, are very important to help reduce high LDL (bad) cholesterol.
You may also need to take cholesterol-lowering medications (such as statins) to help manage your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke. Talk to your doctor about finding the right treatment for you.
Can you eat eggs if you have high cholesterol?
Generally speaking, it should be fine for most people, as the cholesterol in eggs does not have a significant effect on blood cholesterol. It's much more important to limit the amount of saturated fat you eat. Too much-saturated fat can raise the cholesterol in your blood.