What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced naturally by our bodies and is found in the blood. It is essential for healthy cell function. The liver produces all the cholesterol we need; therefore we do not need to consume foods with cholesterol. When there is too much cholesterol in the blood, excess cholesterol is deposited in the blood vessels. This can lead to blockages in the arteries. 


Types of Cholesterol


  • Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol also called ‘bad’ cholesterol.  If there is a high level of bad (LDL) cholesterol in the blood it can build up in the walls of the blood vessels and cause them to narrow.
  • High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol also called ‘good’ cholesterol.

  • Your total cholesterol is made up from the LDL and the HDL cholesterol. Generally, the lower your levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and the higher your levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, the better.undefined


The Heart Foundation recommends to choose foods with healthier polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and to limit the amount of foods with saturated and trans fats. Increasing fruit, vegetables, fish and wholegrain foods as part of a healthy lifestyle.  As well as being active, maintaining a healthy weight and giving up smoking. Please seek advice from your Healthcare professional for specific individual advice.


What can cause high cholesterol?


The most significant dietary factor that contributes to increased blood cholesterol levels (high cholesterol) is saturated fat. Saturated fats are mainly found in animal foods, coconut and palm oil. 


Tips to reduce saturated fats !







  • Replace butter or dairy blends with plant sterol enriched spreads such as Logicol.
  • Use a variety of oils such as canola, sunflower, soybean and olive oil
  • Base meals around vegetables and grain based foods such as pasta, bread and rice
  • Choose low or reduced fat milk and low fat yoghurt
  • Include fresh or canned fish at least twice a week
  • Eat lean meats that are trimmed of fat








  • Limit foods including pastries, snack foods such as potato and corn chips, chocolates and creamy biscuits.
  • Reduce takeaway foods such as pies, pizzas and hamburgers to once a week


How can I get my cholesterol tested?


Visit your health care professional for a cholesterol test.  

1National Vascular Disease Prevention Alliance (2012) Guidelines for the management of absolute cardiovascular disease risk. Your cholesterol goals may vary depending on your level of other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

For more information

Got to Heart Foundation website: http://heartfoundation.org.au

1National Heart Foundation 2009, 'Position statement: Phytosterol/stanol enriched foods', accessed 28/05/2013,


2Food Standards Australia New Zealand 2011, 'Plant sterols', accessed 28/05/2013,