Our Pharmacist Anshu Bhimbat answers your healthcare questions.
I have high cholesterol, what can I do to reduce it?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in your blood that helps your body function. Too much cholesterol in your blood causes the blood flow to your heart, brain and the rest of your body to be restricted, which can increase the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular disease.
High cholesterol is caused by an a few things that are under your control such as; an unhealthy diet containing saturated fats, lack of exercise or activity, smoking or excessive amounts of alcohol.
Some factors that are out of your control include family history of heart conditions, your age and if you have underlying conditions.
I would recommend making a few lifestyle changes to lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of experiencing any health problems in the future. There are medications such as statins that can help to lower your cholesterol levels, but lifestyle changes should be considered first.
Top tips to help lower your cholesterol
1. Avoid certain foods that are high in saturated fats
• Fatty cuts of meat
• Butter, ghee and lard
• Cream products
• Hard and soft cheese
• Cakes, biscuits and chocolate
2. Eat foods high in fibre – the recommended daily amount is 30g.
• Fruit and vegetables
• Wholemeal bread, bran and wholegrain cereals
• Nuts and seeds
3. Stop smoking
4. Increasing your physical activity.
Exercising regularly can help your body to deposit fatty substances to the liver to be broken down. You will also be able to maintain a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure.