the cholesterol that circulates in your blood. Most of it - about
80 per cent - is produced by your liver. Dietary cholesterol is
the stuff found in foods from animal sources (there is no cholesterol
in plant foods). Meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy products all
provide cholesterol in varying amounts. Only about 20 per cent of
the cholesterol in your blood comes from eating foods that contain
If you have been told that you have high cholesterol, your health
professional is talking about your blood cholesterol levels. These
are a concern because they're a major risk factor for heart disease.
If you have high blood cholesterol or have a history of heart disease
in your family, reducing your blood cholesterol to a healthy level
is important for long-term good health.
is often blamed for high blood cholesterol levels. But for most
people, cholesterol from foods has little effect on blood cholesterol
levels. Family history, diabetes and thyroid, kidney or liver disease,
smoking, lack of exercise, excess body weight and high fat diets
are all important factors.
High intakes of fat, especially saturated fat and trans fatty acids,
are mainly responsible for increasing total and LDL (bad) blood
cholesterol levels. Saturated fats are found mostly in meat, egg
yolks, dairy products made from whole milk, and foods that contain
hydrogenated fat, including palm or coconut oils.
(also called trans fatty acids) are found in foods that contain
partially hydrogenated fats such as shortening, some margarine,
French fries, doughnuts, breaded and fried chicken and fish, crackers,
chips, cookies and bakery products. Trans fats act like saturated
fats in our bodies and increase total and LDL blood cholesterol
levels but also reduce HDL (good) blood cholesterol levels.
are found mostly in canola, olive and peanut oils and foods made
with these oils, nuts and seeds. These fats help decrease total
and LDL blood cholesterol.
are found in oils made from sunflowers, safflowers, corn, soybeans,
nuts, flaxseed and sesame seeds. These fats have been found to reduce
total and LDL blood cholesterol levels, particularly when eaten
as part of a diet that is lower in fat.
The accepted approach for lowering or keeping blood cholesterol
levels in a healthy range is to focus on reducing your total fat
intake, especially the amount of saturated and trans fat that you
eat. Omitting foods simply because they contain cholesterol is not
the answer. Dairy products, meat and eggs all contains cholesterol
but avoiding these foods could prevent you from getting some of
the important nutrients found is these foods such as calcium, protein,
iron, zinc or B-vitamins.
regularly. Make higher-fibre foods such as whole grain breads
and cereals, fruits and
vegetables the focus of each meal. Include more meals made with
meat alternatives such as beans, peas, lentils and tofu. Choose
lower-fat dairy products such as buttermilk, skim milk, 1% milk,
and yogurt and cottage cheese made with 1% milk fat or less.
Enjoy fish more often, choose lean cuts of meat, have poultry
without skins and limit serving sizes to about the size of a
deck of cards. Eat foods prepared with little or no extra fat.
Have foods containing shortening or partially hydrogenated fats
and oils in moderation.
labels: "Cholesterol-free" foods can still be high in fat. Some
examples include potato chips
to a diet that is lower in fat, higher in fibre and participating
in regular physical activity can help keep your blood cholesterol
in a healthy range