High cholesterol levels can lead to blocked arteries, which increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.
There are two main types of cholesterol: ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL) and ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL).
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) can help to protect you against coronary heart disease.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) can add to the build-up of plaque (fatty deposits) in your arteries and increase your risk of getting heart disease.
While you might need medication to control your cholesterol, there are also natural ways to keep your levels in check. However, make sure to discuss your cholesterol with your medical professional before changing anything.
Here are some tips, courtesy of the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating:
• Limit takeaway foods, such as pastries, pies, pizza, hot chips, fried fish, hamburgers and creamy pasta dishes, to once a week.
• Limit salty, fatty and sugary snack foods, such as crisps, cakes, pastries, biscuits and chocolate, to once a week.
• Eat plenty of vegetables (aim for five half-cup servings of vegetables every day).
Choose wholegrain breads, cereal, pasta, rice and noodles.
• Snack on plain, unsalted nuts and fresh fruit.
• Use spreads and margarines made from canola, sunflower or olive oil, instead of butter.
• Use salad dressings and mayonnaise made from oils such as canola, sunflower, soybean, olive, sesame and peanut oils.
Have two to three portions of oily fish every week.
• Include up to six eggs every week.
• Select lean meat and poultry.
• Choose reduced-fat, low-fat or no-fat milk, yoghurt, or calcium-added non-dairy food and drinks.
Limit processed meats including sausages and deli meats, such as salami.
• Aim to eat foods that are high in dietary fibre, particularly soluble fibre.
• Stick to a diet that is low in saturated fats and trans-fats.