What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat. Its found in all the cells in your body and forms part of their outer layer. Cholesterol is also an essential part of many important hormones including oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
There are two main types of cholesterol.
Sources of cholesterol
There are two different sources of cholesterol some comes from the food you eat, but most of it is made within your body. Not many foods actually contain cholesterol. Examples of some that do are: eggs liver kidney- prawns. However your liver can
produce all of the cholesterol your body needs so dietary cholesterol isnt an essential part of your diet. Your cholesterol levels are mainly influenced by the other fats that you eat.
The saturated fats you eat have the biggest impact on cholesterol levels in your body. Saturated fats are found in foods such as meat, cheese, butter, cream and pastries.
Unsaturated fats actually reduce levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood. For this reason they can be a healthy choice, and its a good idea to replace saturated fats in your diet with unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are found in vegetable oils, sunflower
spreads, nuts and avocados.
Trans fats are artificially solidified vegetable oils.Similar to saturated fats, trans fats raise levels of LDL cholesterol, so try to save foods containing these fats for an occasional treat. Trans fats are found in many types of processed foods, including, biscuits, cakes and pastries.
Your cholesterol level can be measured with a simple blood test. You can have a cholesterol test done at your GP surgery. However, its important to remember that as well as your cholesterol level, other factors such as smoking and high blood pressure increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.