What are healthy cholesterol levels?

What are healthy cholesterol levels?

Type of Cholesterol Measurement Advice
Total Cholesterol Less than 5.0mmol/L If your total cholesterol is higher than 5.0 then you need to reduce it – don’t put it off!
LDL Cholesterol Less than 3.0mmol/L This type of cholesterol is often called ‘bad’ cholesterol as it is the type that blocks arteries.
HDL Cholesterol More than 1.0mmol/L for men and more than 1.2mmol/L for women HDL is called ‘good’ cholesterol as it helps to remove LDL cholesterol from your blood.
Triglycerides Less than 1.8mmol/L This is another type of fat found in your blood and high levels are linked with an increased risk of heart disease.

What if my triglycerides are high?

If your triglycerides are high, start by following the advice for lowering cholesterol.

However, there are a few extra things that you will need to do:

  1. Reduce sugar:
    Sugar and sugary foods increase triglycerides so reducing these foods will help. Cut back on sugar-sweetened drinks like soft drinks and limit fruit juice to one glass a day or less. Also stop adding sugar to food – stop adding sugar to tea and coffee as well as cereal. Cut back on sweet foods like cakes, biscuits, sweets and chocolate.
  2. Reduce alcohol:
    Alcohol increases triglycerides. If you have high triglycerides, have no more than one alcoholic drink per day and try to have at least 3 alcohol-free days every week. 
  3. Eat oil-rich fish:
    Aim to have oil-rich fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, herring or sardines once or twice a week.



This information is reproduced with the permission of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute. Please visit www.indi.ie for further information.

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