Medical Q&As

Cholesterol - foods I can eat?

I have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, even though I am only 24 years old. I have read a lot about the foods that I cannot eat but what foods can I eat that will help stabilise my cholesterol level?

The cholesterol in our bodies comes from two sources. Some of it comes from the food we eat and the larger portion is manufactured in our livers. Whenever a cholesterol level is found to be high it is usually recommended that the fat level in the diet be reduced. The cholesterol level is then re-checked several months later and if the level has not reduced to desirable levels the doctor may prescribe a cholesterol-lowering drug. It is generally recommended that a person with high cholesterol should eat more fruit and vegetables and also increase their consumption of cereal, rice and pasta. Pulses such as beans and peas should also be eaten more often. Many people on a low cholesterol diet are aware of the need to reduce their consumption of red meat and consequently they switch to chicken. However, people need to be aware that the skin of a chicken can contain a significant degree of fat so it is recommended that you eat the meat of the chicken but not its skin. Oily fish such as mackerel and salmon contain fish oils that are beneficial and different in composition to the harmful saturated fats. You can learn more about cholesterol at our special cholesterol clinic, which can be accessed at: http://www.irishhealth.com/clin/cholesterol/welcome.html. The Irish Heart Foundation also have very useful information on lowering cholesterol and that information is available on their website at: http://www.irishheart.ie.