Five reasons your cholesterol might be too high – and what to do about it

High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

“High cholesterol is when you have too much of a fatty substance called cholesterol in your blood,” Mr Sandhu explained.

“It can lead to your blood vessels becoming blocked, which can increase your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke.”

There are five factors that could lead to high cholesterol, with most of them being modifiable.

“It’s usually caused by lifestyle factors like eating too many fatty foods, not exercising enough, being overweight, smoking or drinking too much alcohol,” said Mr Sandhu.

These five factors can be altered in order to lower cholesterol levels.

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For example, one of the best things you can do to lower your cholesterol is to refrain from eating fatty foods.

Fatty foods to minimise:

  • Fatty cuts of meat
  • Meat products, including sausages and pies
  • Butter, ghee, and lard.
  • Cheese, especially hard cheese like cheddar
  • Cream, soured cream and ice cream.
  • Some savoury snacks, like cheese crackers and some popcorns
  • Chocolate confectionery
  • Biscuits, cakes, and pastries.

Another way to reduce your cholesterol levels is to exercise more frequently.

The NHS recommends getting your heart racing for at least 150 minutes each week, whether that’s from fast walking, jogging, dancing, or swimming.

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By eating less fatty foods and exercising more, you’re more likely to lose weight.

Thus, by losing weight, you are already on your way to lowering your cholesterol levels.

Other factors to cut out are cigarettes and booze, both of which are harmful to your health.

While all these factors can be influenced by lifestyle choices, there is a time when high cholesterol can not be avoided.

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Mr Sandu said that, “in some cases, [high cholesterol] runs in families”.

This is known as familial hypercholesterolemia, which is an inherited propensity to develop high cholesterol.

“There are no symptoms of having high cholesterol, but it can show up on a blood test,” said Mr Sandhu.

“If you’re worried you might be at risk of having or developing high cholesterol, pop in and see your local community pharmacist who will be able to help you out with some advice on lifestyle changes.”

Mr George Sandhu is the Deputy Superintendent Pharmacist at Well Pharmacy.

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