What is cholesterol ?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance. Although we need cholesterol in our bodies, too much of it in the blood stream is a problem.
Where does cholesterol come from ?
Everyone has cholesterol in their bloodstream. Some usually comes from food, but your body can make all the cholesterol it needs.
What is wrong with high blood cholesterol ?
The higher your blood cholesterol level, the higher your risk of heart disease.
High blood cholesterol is the main cause of a process which can gradually clog the blood vessels supplying the heart and other parts of the body. This can reduce the blood flow to the heart and lead to a heart attack.
High blood cholesterol is one of the three main risk factors for heart disease. The other two are cigarette smoking and high blood pressure. Most people with high blood cholesterol feel perfectly well. They usually get no warning signs and the only way to find out if their level is high is to have it checked.
Is ‘high’ cholesterol always bad ?
Yes, mostly. It’s true that some cholesterol called HDL is good, but it is only a small part of your total cholesterol level.
What causes high blood cholesterol ?
In most cases, diets do. The main thing which raises our cholesterol level is saturated fat. This is found mainly in animal foods such as meat and dairy products. Other types of fat are either polyunsaturated, as in olive or canola oil and some margarines. If these fats replace saturated fat in the diet the blood cholesterol level will fall. Cholesterol in foods can also raise blood cholesterol, but less than saturated fat does. Dietary cholesterol is found only in animal products, including full-cream dairy products, meat and eggs.
Heredity certainly affects blood cholesterol and a few people will have a very high level of cholesterol no matter how good their diet. But most people can keep to desirable levels if they follow a healthy varied diet which is lower in saturated fat.
How can you help keep a healthy cholesterol level ?
choose lean meat and eat fish more often.
remove visible fat from meat and the skin from chicken.
use lower-fat dairy products, such as reduced-fat or skim milk, cottage cheese, low-fat yoghurt.
cut down on fatty fried foods, biscuits, cakes and pastries.
use non-stick frying pan. Limit use of fats to cook foods.
eat more fruit, vegetables, bread and cereal products.
The diet above is really a healthy eating pattern for Australians
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