What Are Normal Cholesterol Levels?
Cholesterol Levels Ireland
In Ireland, from the age of 40 onwards, you will have your cholesterol levels, blood pressure, etc. checked on an ongoing basis. This is then measured as a risk assessment in terms of other medical issues, family history etc.
Cholesterol levels in the US are checked from the age of 20 . The advantage is that if you know at an earlier age what your cholesterol level is, the earlier you can make changes and lower your risk!
Total cholesterol is the total amount of cholesterol in your blood and should be 5 or less.
HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), ideally this level should be over 1.2 mmol/L(women) and 1 for men.
LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) should be less than 3.
Non-HDL cholesterol is your total cholesterol minus your HDL, so basically all the bad cholesterol and should be 4 or less.
Triglycerides, are a fat in the blood, mainly from food we eat. This level should be less than 1.34 mmol/L.
Sometimes you will see your TC:HDL ratio. This is your total cholesterol divided by your HDL(good cholesterol). The lower this figure is, the better!
Where do I start if I get told I have a high cholesterol level?
DON’T FREAK OUT!
Your doctor will discuss your risk profile with you: that means that your cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, and family history of cardiovascular disease will be assessed.
Primary prevention means managing risk factors such as high cholesterol and blood pressure in order to prevent heart attack or stroke.
Diet and lifestyle changes are the first steps to take when you’re looking for ways to lower cholesterol or blood pressure and improve your heart health.
That’s why it’s important to look at not only your diet but also how much exercise you get, your lifestyle, and so on. The first step is to take a look at the foods you eat. There are some foods that have been shown to raise cholesterol levels and others that lower them.
Saturated Fats and Cholesterol
All fats are not created equal. Eating foods high in saturated fat can raise your “bad” cholesterol levels, while eating unsaturated fats can help lower them. Learn more about the types of fats you eat here!
If you’re looking for a diet to follow, consider the Mediterranean Diet. This way of eating offers the most evidence for promoting heart health as well as protection against a number of other chronic diseases—check out our Food Pyramids here!
Aerobic exercise causes your body to produce more good cholesterol, which results in more cholesterol being excreted by the liver. This can help improve your lipid profile.
Recheck cholesterol levels
After you’ve made changes to your diet and lifestyle, recheck your cholesterol in 3 months.
If your cholesterol doesn’t come down, don’t panic.cYou can try again. You could try Cholestero-Low on top of the diet and lifestyle changes you’ve made.
However, sometimes it means getting prescribed a statin. Getting prescribed a statin is a multifactorial decision and something you have to discuss with your doctor.
Foods to help lower cholesterol Levels!
Artichokes are full of antioxidants, polyphenols and also contain inulin. Inulin can help lower cholesterol, and the antioxidant capacity of artichokes can help reduce blood pressure.
Artichokes are packed full of healthy micronutrients such as Vitamin C,B (folate,riboflavin,B6,thiamine),A,E, D, and K as well as calcium, iron, zinc, and manganese.
These micronutrients are great for skin health via their antioxidant abilities as well as bone health via calcium.
Fruits rich in fibre
Apples, pears, and prunes!
Pears have significant health properties, including soluble fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and copper.
The benefit of soluble fibre from our diet is well established as a way of lowering cholesterol and protecting against heart disease, diabetes, and bowel disease.
A review of several studies showed that people who ate dark chocolate had lower levels of bad cholesterol and total cholesterol than those who ate white chocolate or a placebo.
Dark chocolate is made from cacao beans. Cacao beans are also rich in plant chemicals called flavanoids, which act as natural antioxidants. These antioxidants can help lower blood pressure, protect against cell damage and reduce the risk of heart disease.