Nutrition Related Diseases

What does it mean to have high cholesterol/hyperlipidaemia?

Cholesterol is a waxy fat carried through the bloodstream via lipoproteins.
There three main different lipoproteins that are tested to diagnose high cholesterol or dyslipidaemia.

  1. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL): When LDL levels are high, it results in plaque formation against the wall of the arteries / forms clots. The heart works harder to pump blood through the body. When the heart is under stress or cannot receive a healthy amount of blood flow due to clots or stiffened arteries the risk for a heart attack or stroke increases. LDL is considered the ‘bad cholesterol’, aim to decrease LDL levels.
  2. High-density lipoproteins: This is considered the good cholesterol and acts like a car picking up the bad cholesterol and driving it out of the blood. Aim to increase HDL levels.
  3. Triglycerides: This is the fat your body creates from extra calories, dietary sugar, fat and alcohol. Aim to decrease triglycerides.
Complications of high cholesterol

Arteriosclerosis: A build-up of bad fats in the arteries narrow the arteries and decrease efficient blood flow through the body.
Coronary heart diseases: Increased risk due to impaired blood flow and oxygen delivery.
Angina: Chest pain due to poor blood circulation/overworked heart
Stroke: When fat deposits form a clot/clots and block the arteries, this interrupts blood flow to the brain and result in a stroke.

What can I do to improve my cholesterol profile?

Various lifestyle changes can be made, use these few tips as part of your diet or meal plan to lower your cholesterol.

  1. Stop smoking
  2. If overweight, lose weight
  3. Exercise
  4. Increase your healthy fat intake (Avocado, unsalted nuts and seeds, sugar and salt-free nut butters, olive oil) Remember: Fats are high in energy if you need to lose weight keep the portions to thumb size.
  5. Have fish that is high in omega 3 - WITHOUT BATTER & NOT DEEP-FRIED (tinned in water/ grilled/ make on fire/ poached) Examples of fish that's high in healthy fat: salmon, herring, sardines, trout, Mackerel, black cod, Anchovies, Oysters, mussels, halibut
  6. 35 % Fat from total energy is recommended (Consisting mostly of Mono- and Polyunsaturated fats).
  7. Do not use any refined white starches, swop them for whole grain or brown starches
  8. Limit alcohol intake
  9. Be cautious when choosing juices/ drinks they can be high in sugar
  10. Limit sweets and desserts to 2 X per week
  11. Do not overeat
  12. Increase fiber:
    • Have fruit and vegetables with the skin where possible
    • Have oats often
    • Add Flaxseeds to breakfast daily
    • Choose brown or whole wheat grains
    • Have vegetables with lunch AND supper
    • Have 2 fruits a day
    • Enjoy Chia seeds, they are high in fiber
What levels of cholesterol are healthy, or should I aim for?

LDL: less than 2.6 mmol/L
HDL: more than 1mmol/L
Triglycerides: Less than 1.7

Supplementation recommendation to lower cholesterol in accordance with your Doctor:

  • Long-chain omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. 3 g per day. The supplement should contain EPA and DHA.
  • Glucachol-22
  • Plant sterols
  • Flaxseeds
    20-50g flaxseeds per day.
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