Cholesterol

Cholesterol

Lipid management may sound clinical, but it’s just the medical term for getting your cholesterol under control.

We know that high blood cholesterol is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD).

What is cholesterol?

It’s a fatty substance that that travels around the body via the blood.

Your body produces cholesterol and it can also be found in food.

There are two types of cholesterol – good and bad.

Good cholesterol is known as high density lipoprotein (HDL cholesterol), because it prevents cholesterol from building up in, and clogging, your arteries.

Bad cholesterol is known as low density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol), because this is the kind that likes blocking up your arteries and creates plaque. Eventually, a build up of plaque could lead to a heart attack.

When a doctor reads your cholesterol, it’s a mix of the good and bad stuff.

The role your diet plays

If you want to manage your cholesterol levels without medication, you can start by altering your diet.

Saturated fat and trans-fats can increase cholesterol levels, if you can’t cut them out completely then it’s important to minimize them.

Rather than see this as a deprivation diet, consider it a longevity-promoting eating plan.

The Heart Foundation recommends focusing on these foods, which can help you reduce your cholesterol levels:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Wholegrain cereals
  • Healthy protein sources such as fish and seafood, lean meat and poultry, legumes, nuts and seeds
  • Reduced fat dairy such as milk, yoghurt and cheese
  • Healthy fats including nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and olive oil for cooking
  • Herbs and spices rather than salt to flavour your meals

Move it

Exercise also plays an important role in lowering cholesterol levels.

The Heart Foundation recommends 30-45 minutes of moderate movement, such as brisk walking, at least five times a week. This can be easily incorporated into your day, such as getting off the bus a stop or two early and walking the rest of the way or walking the dog.

If you want to minimize that time, 15-30 mins of vigorous exercise a day, such as running, has the same effect.

Resources

NOTE: The main resource for this page is https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/for-professionals/clinical-information/lipid-management

https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/know-your-risks/blood-cholesterol

Cholesterol and triglycerides action plan – https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/after-my-heart-attack/heart-attack-recovery/action-plans/cholesterol-and-triglycerides-action-plan

Fact sheet – https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/images/uploads/main/For_professionals/Cholesterol_brochure_2018.pdf