High cholesterol is when you have too much of a fatty substance called cholesterol in your blood. Too much cholesterol in your blood can clog up your arteries and lead to a blockage – the preconditions for a heart attack. The lack of symptoms that can alert you to this process makes the condition particularly harrowing.
According to the health body, this may be because of your age, weight or another condition you have (like high blood pressure or diabetes).
“If you have high cholesterol, a doctor or nurse will talk to you about how you can lower it.”
How to lower high cholesterol
You can lower high cholesterol levels by making healthy dietary decisions.
“Cutting down on saturated fat and replacing some of it with unsaturated fats is a great way to lower your cholesterol,” explains cholesterol charity Heart UK.
Saturated fat is the kind of fat found in butter, lard, ghee, fatty meats and cheese.
Foods which contain unsaturated fats include:
- Vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, corn, rapeseed, nut and seed oils
- Avocado, nuts and seeds
- Fat spreads made from vegetable oils, such as sunflower and olive oil
- Oily fish.
“Oily fish are a good source of healthy unsaturated fats, specifically a type called omega-3 fats,” explains Heart UK.
“Aim to eat two portions of fish per week, at least one of which should be oily.”
Oily fish can be found in a Mediterranean-style diet, which has been shown to provide direct benefits to the heart.
The Mediterranean diet varies by country and region, so it has a range of definitions.
“But in general, it’s high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil. It usually includes a low intake of meat and dairy foods,” explains the NHS.
The health body adds: “It usually includes a low intake of meat and dairy foods.”