National Cholesterol Month 2015

Cholesterol is a type of fat (lipid), found in the body and in certain foods. Too much cholesterol in the blood can increase the risk of heart disease and a stroke. The trick is to ensure you have the right balance of cholesterol. (Ontario, 2013)

Regular physical activity and a healthy diet can help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing your HDL (good) cholesterol. By exercising frequently, such as walking, cycling, swimming or running, this will help to keep your blood pressure and weight at a suitable level. (Heart UK, 2015)

By making dietary and lifestyle changes, such as eating less fat and increasing exercise, can lower your cholesterol, and therefore improve your health.  (Ontario, 2013)

You can maintain a healthy lifestyle by adhering to the following:-

  • Decreasing the amount of fat in your diet
  • Paying special attention to the fat quality you consume
  • Maintaining a heathy weight
  • Quitting smoking
  • Getting adequate exercise
  • Reducing stress

All of these factors combined can significantly decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Healthy Foods

To contribute to a healthy lifestyle, start eating the following:-

  • A variety of fruit and vegetables, about five or more servings per day
  • Eat a variety of whole grain products each day (bread, pasta and cereal)
  • Fat-free and low-fat milk and dairy products
  • Lean meats and poultry without skin
  • Fatty fish, about two servings per week
  • Beans, peas, nuts and seeds
  • Dried fruit, carrot sticks, whole grain crackers and fruit (all ideal for snacking!)

In addition, use lower fat cooking methods, such as baking, boiling or steaming, practice portion control and limit excessive alcohol intake.

It is recommended to seek medical advice and request a cholesterol test if you have any of these risk factors:

  • You are male and over 40 years of age
  • You are female and over 50 years of age (or post-menopausal)
  • You have heart disease, stroke, diabetes or high blood pressure
  • You have a family history of heart disease or stroke
  • You are of First Nations, African or South Asian descent
  • You have excess fat around your waist (a circumference of more than 102 centimetres for men and 88 centimetres for women)
  • You smoke
  • You don’t exercise

The Great Cholesterol Challenge aims to improve the nation’s health and increase awareness of cholesterol as well as raise funds for Heart UK, The Cholesterol Charity.

For further information on Cholesterol and the Great Cholesterol Challenge, visit the following websites:-

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