High Cholesterol is one of Britain’s biggest health Hazards leading to Heart Disease and strokes
- Heart UK state every 6 out of 10 people in UK have higher or abnormal levels
- There are no outwards signs so dubbed a silent killer
- Effects anyone regardless of age, gender or ethnicity (although family history can play a part)
- Most people is lifestyle related – smoking high alcohol intake and poor eating habits
- Diet and exercise have most effect on levels
What is Cholesterol and what does it do?
Cholesterol is both our friend and foe - at normal levels, it is an essential substance for the body's normal functioning, but if levels in the blood get too high, it becomes a silent danger that puts us at risk of a heart attack or Stroke.
Latest research is also showing Cholesterol as an impact on infertility and Dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s.
Good/Bad Cholesterol -Cholesterol is found in every cell of the body and has important natural functions. It is manufactured by the body but can also be taken in from food. It is waxy and fat-like in appearance.
Cholesterol is oil-based and so does not mix with the blood, which is water-based. It is therefore carried around the body in the blood by lipoproteins.
The parcels of cholesterol are carried by two types of lipoprotein:
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL - cholesterol carried by this type is known as 'bad' cholesterol)
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL - cholesterol carried by this type is known as 'good' cholesterol).
Cholesterol has four main functions, without which we could not live. It:
- Contributes to the structure of cell walls
- Makes up digestive bile acids in the intestine
- Allows the body to produce Vitamin D
- Enables the body to make certain hormones
High levels of bad LHD lead to a build-up of cholesterol in the arteries, whereas the good- HDL carries cholesterol to the liver for removal from the body. A build-up of cholesterol forms part of the process that narrows arteries, in which plaques form and cause restriction of blood flow.
- All cholesterol is bad ....NO Cholesterol is essential for good health, as we have seen
- Diet and exercise won’t make a difference ...NO diet and exercise can reduce levels by up to 25%
- Only fat people have High Cholesterol ....NO anyone any age
- Eating eggs or shellfish can increase levels- NO these need not be limited for cholesterol reasons
- Coconut Oil will reduce my cholesterol – NO it is still a saturated fat and will not help
Cholesterol Food Facts
- Oats – are fantastic they contain beta-glucan which stops cholesterol being absorbed
- Fish – oil rich fish will boost your heart health
- Cut down on saturated fats- We know about lean meats and dairy products, but cakes biscuits and pastries these are full of saturated fats
- Eat low fat or lean meats, - reduce intake of highly fat products like chorizo and salami
- Eat more Pulses – beans chickpeas and lentils, these are full of soluble fibre which will reduce the absorption of cholesterol.
- Swap butter for lower saturated fat spreads containing olive,
- Measure oil , or use a misting spray – again control the amount you use
- Watch the booze –too much alcohol leads to weight gain again bad for cholesterol levels – and yes red wine does count – too much is always too much
- Nuts!! –eat a few, not too many whole almonds are rich in heart healthy flavonoids
- Have a cuppa –particularly green tea which is high in antioxidants, all teas contain catechins which lower absorption of cholesterol
So do you know your levels?
See your Doctor and Get it checked