When my clients come to me for support with their health issues there is usually more than one thing going on. Many people, whether diabetic or not, have been told by their GP that they have high cholesterol and as October is National Cholesterol Month, let's talk about it.
Cholesterol occurs naturally in the body and is essential for the building of cell walls, the production of a variety of steroid-based hormones and it helps to digest dietary fats via bile production. So some cholesterol is essential and our liver makes most of what we need. The liver packages up cholesterol into parcels, called lipoproteins, to be transported in the blood.
There are two main types of lipoproteins: Low density lipoproteins (LDL) which deliver cholesterol from the liver to the cells where it is needed and high density lipoproteins (HDL) which take cholesterol back to the liver. To help avoid the complications of cardiovascular disease, getting the balance of LDL and HDL right is key.
Avoiding cholesterol in food has been found to have very little effect on the levels in blood, instead reducing saturated fat and increasing fibre through eating lots of veg has been shown to improve cholesterol levels and the balance of LDL and HDL. Having sufficient vitamin D (everyone needs to supplement vitamin D through the winter months) and eating oily fish, nuts and seeds for omega-3 oils is also great for heart health. Because alcohol and cholesterol are both processed in the liver, keeping within the recommended limit of 14 units of alcohol a week will allow the liver to perform its cholesterol function properly.
Luckily, the way to help achieve healthy cholesterol is similar to how to manage type 2 diabetes. So you can be healthy all round!