What is cholesterol?
There are two type:
HDL (high density lipoprotein), this one is often associated with good cholesterol as it is protective.
LDL (low density lipoprotein), this one is often associated with bad cholesterol as it blocks your arteries.
Do you actually need cholesterol?
Cholesterol is needed to make vitamin D, some hormones and bile but too much of it in our bodies can be extremely dangerous. Cholesterol is labelled as the silent killer so awareness is crucial.
Signs of high cholesterol
You can have high cholesterol and experience no signs at all hence the name – the silent killer. That is why I urge you to get yours checked so something can be done before it’s too late. There are some signs you can look out for:
- Chest pain
- Heart burn
- Heart attack
- Pain whilst walking
As you can see these are extreme symptoms and you wouldn’t want it to get to this before diagnosing the issue
Find out more on cholesterol symptoms, causes and treatments in the link. Stay woke.
Check your cholesterol level
Many people will ask the question how do I check my cholesterol level? What is the normal cholesterol level? And can I check my cholesterol level at home?
How do I check my cholesterol level?
You can start by booking an appointment with your local GP and they can advise you accordingly.
There are also home test kits designed for checking your cholesterol level. You can pick these up from your local pharmacy such as Boots.
Please find some suggested links here:
What is the normal cholesterol level?
Please see the test results described below:
The lower your cholesterol ratio is the better. To work this out (total cholesterol / HDL cholesterol). The result should be below 4:1
A cholesterol level of 6 and above is considered ‘high risk’. If you do a home kit and get this result book an appointment with your GP to get further advice.
NHS recommended cholesterol level:
|Total Cholesterol||5mmol/L or less|
|Non HDL Cholesterol||4mmol/L or less|
|LDL Cholesterol||3mmol/L or less|
|HDL Cholesterol||1mmol/L or less|
My cholesterol Results:
So I went and bought a test form Amazon – the CARE diagnostica Cholesterol Health Care Test as seen below. This cost £12.99 from Amazon.
The kit comes with a lancet, plaster, the test wheel and instruction booklet as seen below:
I carefully read the instruction manual before completing the test. Please note the test is only accurate if you have fasted for 12 hours prior to doing the test and the test is best read in day light. Please see instruction manual below:
You now need to open the cholesterol wheel where you find a round circle. This is where the blood will go when you prick your finger. Now for the tricky part, you need to prepare the lancet and place it on your finger. When in the correct position you must press down and there should be a little bubble of blood that you dab onto the wheel. In my case I found it really difficult to prick my own finger and have this automatic response to pull my finger away. unfortunately there was very little blood and not enough for the test.
The circle above should really be full with blood and I just couldn’t do it to myself. I think the test itself needs to be better adapted for this as once you press the button on the lancet the mechanism is done. There is no option for a retry so that is basically £12.99 down the drain.
I never got to find out my results as there wasn’t enough blood so the test just remained red as you can see above. In an ideal situation it should change a shade of green to match the wheel giving you an indication of your cholesterol level.
After going through this ordeal to find out my cholesterol level and being unsuccessful I wasn’t going to give up just yet. I booked an appointment at the GP and was able to find out I have a healthy cholesterol level of 3.1.
If you don’t like the doctors or simply don’t have time I found these great Easy Cholesterol Test Strips. The great thing about them is that you get 10 if you mess up like I did and they are a lot cheaper £19.99 for 10.
The best method at keeping your cholesterol levels under control is to make a cholesterol diet sheet.
Foods that lower cholesterol:
Food to avoid as they increase your cholesterol:
- Fatty meats
- Coconut oil
- Coconut cream
- Palm oil
Healthy food swaps to lower cholesterol levels can be found on Heart UK website with a load of other useful information.
If you are looking for cholesterol-friendly recipe inspiration, look no further. This is a dish I eat regularly that is great for your health and keeping your cholesterol at a healthy level:
Vegetarian Low cholesterol recipe (serves 4) – Garlic and Herb Freekeh
- 200g Freekeh
- 175g Frozen peas
- 6 tbsp Garlic oil
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- Handful of herbs – mint parsley chives
- Boil the freekeh
- After 15 minutes add the frozen peas and leave to boil for an addition 5 minutes.
- Finely chop the herbs.
- Drain the water and add contents to a mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
Now you can enjoy a lovely healthy vegetarian low cholesterol meal 🙂
If you enjoyed the recipe and are serious about lowering your cholesterol there is a great cook book dedicated to just that. Eat Your Way To A Lower Cholesterol will keep you inspired and claims to reduce cholesterol level by 20% in just three months.
To increase your knowledge and awareness of National Cholesterol Month please take a look at the UK Heart website.
Please make a donation to Heart UK to keep supporting the amazing work they do.
Click the link to DONATE HERE.