Everything about Cholesterol - Cholesterol Level and Cholesterol Test

Everything about Cholesterol

What is Cholesterol

Cholesterol, although usually associated with fat isn’t actually a fat itself.  Cholesterol is a white, waxy, odorless substance belonging to a group of substances known as lipoproteins.

Cholesterol helps our body carry fats and travels round the bloodstream in tiny droplets of lipoprotein, of which there are three densities :

  • VLDL cholesterol – very low density lipoprotein
  • LDL cholesterol – low density lipoprotein
  • HDL cholesterol – high density lipoprotein

High Cholesterol Level

Maintain a healthy low cholesterol diet. Stay away from diet filled with high cholesterol food to restore the balance of total body cholesterol to a safe and normal level.

Cholesterol Level and Cholesterol Test

Everything about CholesterolCholesterol level increases with age.  Everyone age 20 and older should have their cholesterol tested at least once in every 5 years. It has been shown that for every 1% increased cholesterol level, the risk of heart disease increases by 2 to 3%.

Danger of High Cholesterol Diet fill with High Cholesterol Food

Maintaining a healthy low cholesterol diet together with regular exercise to help restore and bring down total cholesterol level to a desirable safe and normal cholesterol level.

Avoid the danger posed by a high cholesterol diet fill with high cholesterol food.  Don’t wait till it’s completely blocked. Reduce LDL cholesterol – the bad cholesterol. Increase HDL cholesterol – the good cholesterol to lower the risk of coronary heart disease.

Cholesterol LevelSafe Normal Cholesterol LevelBorderline
High Risk
High Risk – High Cholesterol Level
Total Serum Cholesterol LevelLess than
200 mg/dL
200 mg/dL
to 239 mg/dL
240 mg/dL
or more
LDL Cholesterol – bad cholesterolLess than
to 159 mg/dL
or more
HDL Cholesterol – good cholesterolMore than
40 mg/dL
Less than
40 mg/dL

High Cholesterol Level and bad LDL cholesterol

The more bad LDL cholesterol you have the higher the risk of having heart diseases. Bring down your high cholesterol level to improve your overall health.

Health benefit of low cholesterol diet plan in lowering high cholesterol level are:-

  • reduce the chance of heart attack and stroke
  • reduce the formation of new cholesterol plagues
  • reduce and prevent the rupture of existing plagues

Seek advice from a dietitian to help you plan your low cholesterol diet to reduce high cholesterol level and to reduce your daily intake of high cholesterol food.

Cholesterol Count of Selected High Cholesterol Food

Cholesterol Count of High Cholesterol Food


High Cholesterol FoodCholesterol count (mg) per 100gHigh Cholesterol FoodCholesterol count (mg) per 100g
Lambs’ brains2200Prawns195
Egg yolk1260Double cream140
Herring roe575Pork110
Whole egg450Salami79
Calves’ liver370Lamb, lean74
Lambs’ kidneys315Chicken, light meat70
Caviar (bottled)285Cheddar Cheese70
Butter230Pork, lean63
Squid225Beef, lean58

High Fiber Food to reduce cholesterol

Dietary Fiber from Fresh Fruit and Vegetables

Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your low cholesterol diet. Ideally are at least five portions of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.

Get 20g to 25g of fiber per day in your daily diet by increasing intake of dietary fiber from fruits and vegetables.

Almost all fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally cholesterol free, fat free, contain soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. They also provide rich antioxidants carotene (the plant form of vitamin A), vitamin C, E and minerals which helps to reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease.

Reducing Cholesterol Level with High Fiber Low Cholesterol Food

Reduce Cholesterol with Fruits
ApplesA useful source of vitamin C and pectin – a soluble fiber to help reduce cholesterol
ApricotsAn excellent source of carotene and cholesterol lowering soluble fiber
Citrus fruitAn excellent source of vitamin C and carotene.  Pectin in the flesh and membranes is thought to help reduce cholesterol.
GrapesRed and black grapes are rich in bioflavonoids (antioxidants that may help to protect against heart disease and some cancers).
Kiwi fruitKiwis are an excellent source of vitamin C and also provide pectin, a cholesterol lowering soluble fiber
MangoesWonderful mixed with yogurt or in a tropical fruit salad and are packed with beta carotene, vitamin C and soluble fiber
PrunesPrunes contain masses of pectin, a soluble fiber that accounts for their laxative effect. Pectin also helps reduce cholesterol level.
StrawberriesRich in vitamin C and soluble and insoluble fiber that help remove bad cholesterol from the blood

Reduce Cholesterol with Vegetables
AsparagusAn excellent source of beta carotene and a useful source of vitamins C and E (all natural antioxidants which may help lower cholesterol).
AvocadosRich in monounsaturates, thought to restrict damage caused to arteries by ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol.  A good source of vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant).
BroccoliProbably topping the list of disease-fighting vegetables, broccoli is an excellent source of antioxidants carotene, vitamins C and E and cholesterol lowering soluble fiber.
CarrotsA fantastic source of beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant that protects the arteries against damage by ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol.  Very rich in cholesterol lowering soluble fiber.
GarlicAn all-round miracle vegetable, strongly believed to thin the blood and reduce cholesterol.  Use raw in salad dressings, roast whole heads and eat with a selection of roasted vegetables, sauté gently in stir-fries, sauces and stews.
KaleA rich source of antioxidant vitamins, which help protect against ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol.  Tender baby kale can be micro waved or used raw in salads.
MushroomsSweat in a little stock rather than butter or slice and use raw in salads.  Eaten daily, Asian shitake mushrooms are thought to help reduce cholesterol level and high blood pressure.
OnionsOnions are exceptionally powerful antioxidant and strongly believed to thin the blood and lower cholesterol.  An essential flavoring for the many savory dishes; serve them cooked or raw in salads, or baked as a vegetable in their own right.
ParsnipsA tasty root vegetable rich in cholesterol lowering soluble fiber.  Eat them baked, mashed or grated raw in salads.
Sweet peppersAn excellent source of beta carotene and vitamin C, which help reduce damage caused by ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol.  Use raw in salads, add to sir-fries, roast in the oven and add to soups, stews and sauces.

Raise Good Cholesterol – The Heart Friendly HDL Cholesterol

High Cholesterol and Coronary Heart Disease

The four major risk factors of coronary heart disease are:

  • high cholesterol
  • smoking
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes

High cholesterol will result in atherosclerosis – the thickening of blood vessels leading to heart disease.

Raising Good Cholesterol Level and lower triglyceride level

HDL Cholesterol, often call the good cholesterol, keeps the blood vessels clean by transporting excess cholesterol to the liver for excretion to help prevent clogged arteries.

Good HDL cholesterol takes away the bad cholesterol.

When the good HDL cholesterol level goes up the rate of getting coronary heart disease goes down.  Raising good cholesterol level by 1% can help you reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by as much as 3%.

Aim is to raise Good Cholesterol level and lower triglyceride level. 

Tips to raise good cholesterol and lower triglyceride level

  • Lose Weight
    If you are overweight aim to lose 0.5 – 1.0 kg per week.  Losing weight helps to lower triglyceride level and increase good cholesterol level.Recommended Body Mass Index (BMI) is < 23
    Recommended waist circumference is < 95 cm for male and < 80 for females
  • Exercise
    Exercise improves cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure, increases insulin sensitivity, increase HDL cholesterol and lower triglyceride level.
    Aim to exercise a minimum of 3 times a week with a duration of 30 minutes per session.
  • Stop Smoking
    Quit smoking to increase good cholesterol level.  Overall coronary heart disease risk starts reducing a few months after cessation of smoking
  • Restrict alcohol
    Restrict the intake of alcohol as alcohol increases the triglyceride level and blood pressure level.

Lowering Cholesterol Level with cholesterol lowering food

Low Cholesterol Diet to Lower Cholesterol Level

Low Cholesterol Diet and lifestyle changes is required in the management of very high cholesterol level especially if one is overweight, smoke and seldom exercise.

Dietary changes with emphasis on decreasing dietary cholesterol and cutting intake of fats and oils is extremely important.

Decrease intake of fats and oils to no more than 30% of total calorie requirement with no more than 10% of total calorie requirement coming from saturated fat and trans fat.

Lowering Cholesterol via  Low Fat Food and Fat Free Cooking

Many cholesterol lowering food are now available in low fat or very low fat versions.  In every supermarket, you’ll find a huge array of low fat dairy products such as low fat milks and cream, yogurt, hard and soft cheeses and fromage frais.

There is also an increasing variety of low fat sweet or chocolate biscuits; low fat or fat free salad dressings and mayonnaise; low fat crisps and low fat snacks; low fat, half fat and very low fat spreads; and even ready-made low fat meals.

Other cholesterol lowering food, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, pasta, rice, potatoes and bread, naturally contain very little fat and they help lower cholesterol level.  Some foods such as soy sauce, wine, vinegar, cider, sherry and honey contain no fat at all.  By combining these and other low fat food with low fat cooking techniques, you can create delicious low fat low cholesterol recipe dishes.

For fat free or low fat cooking it’s best to avoid roasting and frying as they can increase the fat content of food.  Instead poach, grill, bake, steam or microwave food, all successful ways of low fat cooking without adding fat.

Lowering Cholesterol via Lower Fat Snacks

Instead of reaching for a packet of crisps, a high-fat biscuits or a chocolate bar when hunger strikes, choose one of these tasty low fat snacks to fill that hunger.

Choose the following tasty lower fat snacks to lower cholesterol level.

  • A piece of fresh fruit or vegetable such as an apple or carrot is delicious, easy to eat and will also increase soluble fiber and help lower cholesterol.  Keep chunks or sticks wrapped in polythene bag in the refrigerator.
  • Crackers, such as water biscuits or crisp breads, spread with reduce sugar jam or marmalade.
  • Instead of cream, dollop some very low fat yogurt – plain or fruit or even fromage frais on to puddings.
  • A bowl of whole wheat breakfast cereal or no-added sugar muesli served with a little skimmed milk.  Oats cereal are one of the best cholesterol lowering food.
  • One of two crisp rice cakes or oats cakes – delicious on their own or topped with honey or low fat cheese.
  • A handful of dried fruits such as raisins, apricots or sultanas will increase your intake of soluble fiber to lower cholesterol level.

Low Cholesterol Diet Food

Reduce Bad Cholesterol and Boost Good Cholesterol

Including the following low cholesterol food in your daily low cholesterol diet will help reduce bad cholesterol which can clog the arteries, causing damage to the artery wall.

Low cholesterol food will also boost good cholesterol which removes bad LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream.

Benefits of Low Cholesterol Food

Food Low in Cholesterol


Oily fish, such as mackerel, sardines, herring, trout and salmon, contain valuable fatty acids known as omega 3.  Omega 3 fatty acids boost good cholesterol level i.e. increase good hdl cholesterol and are strongly believed to help prevent heart disease.  Try to eat oily fish 2-3 times a week.  Grill or bake in the oven without extra oil.


Nuts are high in healthy monounsaturated fats – the good fats,  that helps reduce bad cholesterol level and discourages ‘bad’ ldl cholesterol from oxidizing and damaging the artery wall.  Nuts are also a valuable source of vitamin E, which protects against oxidative damages.  Almonds and walnuts are said to be particularly effective.  Eat just a few nuts each day as a low cholesterol snack, or add them to salads or cakes.

Olive oil and rapeseed oil

These oils, particularly olive oil, are very high in heart healthy monounsaturated fats, which reduce ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and prevent it from causing oxidative damage to the arteries.  Olive oil keeps artery clogging ‘bad’ hdl cholesterol low while slightly increasing and maintaining ‘good’ HDL cholesterol.  This could explain why there is a low incidence of  heart disease in Mediterranean countries where olive oil are a major part of the Mediterranean diet.  Use ‘pure’ olive oil in moderation for low cholesterol cooking and ‘extra virgin’ for salads.


Countless studies indicate that pulses – dried beans, lentils and chick peas – work miracles in fighting high cholesterol when eaten on a daily basis.  You can use all types of beans in your low cholesterol diet : kidney, pinto, flageolet, butter beans, haricot, soy  – even ordinary baked beans.  Use tinned or precooked pulses to replace some or all of the meat in stews; add cooked pulses to gutsy salads and soups; or whiz them in a blender with garlic, lemon, herbs and a little olive oil to make dips and pates.

Lower your bad cholesterol level and boost your good cholesterol level by choosing the right  low fat low cholesterol food.

About Maria Jenkins

Maria Jenkins remembers waking up one day and thinking ‘today is the first day of the rest of my life’. The problem was, she realised she wasn’t particularly keen on the thought of where the rest of her life was heading. It was clearly time for a reassessment. She decided to sack her boss and turn what had been a hobby researching and writing about health and fitness for the local gym, into a full time freelance career.