I don’t often write about my anti-high-cholesterol regime here, although I’ve reviewed a number of cheeses and restaurants under the High Cholesterol category. I had high cholesterol diagnosed a good number of years ago now (2010!), but the doctor gave me sixth months to bring it down, which I managed to do. I have annual blood tests because I’m on a very low-dose blood pressure tablet, and we make sure to test my total cholesterol plus “good” HDL and triglycerides so I can monitor it. I didn’t have this test last year as I had a blood panel as part of an operation I had, so two years without one and JUST after a holiday in Cornwall when the odd scone may have been involved, I was a bit nervous about my results.

According to the HeartUK website:

Total Cholesterol (TC): this is the total amount of cholesterol in your blood.  Ideally it should be 5 mmol/L* or less. mine is 5.3, however, see below, the extra is made up of “good” cholesterol.

HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) should be over 1.2 mmol/L for a woman and over 1 mmol/L for a man. Higher levels confer more protection against heart disease. My HDL level is 1.82 mmol/L, accounting for the extra 0.3 on the total and a bit more.

Non HDL-Cholesterol: this is your total cholesterol minus your HDL-cholesterol (good cholesterol) and is the sum of all the  “bad” cholesterols added together (including LDL cholesterol) – ideally it should be 4 mmol/L* or less. Mine is 3.48 mmol/L.

Fasting triglyceride levels should be below 1.7 mmol/L for both men and women. Non fasting triglycerides should be below 2.3 mmol/L. My non-fasting triglycerides are 1.00 mmol/L. Hooray!

I have got and kept my cholesterol levels down through a careful dietary regime (gleaned from the Heart UK advice, which is still to eat plenty of brown carbs, fruit and veg (and oats!) and keep the saturated fat down).  My long-distance running also helps promote good cholesterol. This has personally worked for me: there is alternative advice out there talking about low carbs and sugars, however personally this works and has worked for a number of other people. I did write a book about this which has helped a good few people (making it clear to consult a GP first and that this is only one option) and you can read more about the book and my regime, if you’re interested, here.

So if you’re a friend or family member and I make a fuss about what and where I eat, this is why (turns out, if you don’t eat much fat you get really uncomfortable side-effects when you do eat it!) and why I’m comfortable staying with that behaviour. And I’m quite proud of myself for being able to get and keep it down.

Back to the books soon, don’t worry!