Posted by: bhaven | 2009-03-10

High Cholesterol

Dear Doc,

I went for the regular consultations at our office 5 months ago, and the nurse said that my cholesterol was 5. They returned today, and it was 6.4.

I am a now very concerned about this, as I am 27 years old, and to have such high cholesterol at my age is not healty. I know one of the reasons is that I don' t exercise, which I plan to start doing SOON.

I am a vegetarian (Indian origin), so we eat a lot of curry' s and dairy products, especially cheese. However we do not cook with too much oil.

I would like suggestions to improve our diet please.

Kind Regards,

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Bhaven
If your family suffers from high cholesterol, then you would need to lower your intakes of total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. To lower your cholesterol levels basically you will have to eat a diet that is low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, and high in dietary fibre and protective nutrients - this entails eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, low-fat milk and dairy products (no fatty cheeses, or full-cream milk and yoghurt), only 4 eggs per week (if you eat eggs) and only mono- or polyunsaturated margarine or oil (this is where you can use olive oil in normal quantities) and no ghee. You need to check the foods you buy in the supermarket - compare the total fat content of say standard cottage cheese and that of fat-free cottage cheese - you will see that there is quite a difference. Rather use less processed food (cakes, chocolate, etc) and try not to add much fat in cooking (grill or boil in a stew), to have greater control of the fat content than when you eat processed foods. You can also use omega-3 fatty acids (Salmon oil capsules if permitted or flaxseed oil capsules if you are not permitted any fish products - buy at chemist) to reduce blood cholesterol and try Flora pro-activ which contains plant sterols to lower blood cholesterol (most supermarkets sell this type of margarine). For additional articles, click on 'Diet' and 'You are what you eat' and read the 'Healthy Heart' section. If you require a specific diet to be worked out for you, then I would recommend that you consult a clinical dietitian (visit the Association for Dietetics in SA Website at: and click on "Find a Dietitian" to find a dietitian in your area).
Best regards

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