Cholesterol levels

Ideal cholesterol levels are less than 5.5mmo/L1. However, people really concerned about their heart health should aim for total cholesterol levels of less than 4mmol/L, as well as LDL cholesterol levels under 2.5mmol/L and HDL cholesterol level above 1.0mmol/L2. For more information about ideal cholesterol levels, visit the Heart Foundation of Australia website (www.heartfoundation.org.au) or speak to your doctor.

The main dietary emphasis for heart health is on lowering lipid levels, namely LDL cholesterol, and raising the HDL or 'good' cholesterol. Saturated fat is the main culprit in the diet for high cholesterol. Cholesterol in food can also raise blood cholesterol levels but to a much lower level than saturated fat1.

Cholesterol in your body comes not only from your diet but is also produced by your liver. So your total cholesterol level also depends on your genetics and some people may have concerns about their cholesterol because of their family history.

1 AIHW (2012). Australia's Health 2012.
2 Heart Foundation (2005). Position statement on lipid management.

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