Cardiovascular disease includes coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral heart disease. cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in the UK; in 2005, cardiovascular disease was the cause of one in three deaths, accounting for 124,000 deaths, of which 39,000 involved people younger than 75 years of age.1 It is estimated that there are over three million people living with coronary heart disease or stroke in the UK.
A healthy lifestyle, including following a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, regular physical activity, smoking cessation, and appropriate management of stress are modifiable risk factors in terms of cardiovascular disease.1,2 The aim of this article is to explore the role of the diet in the prevention and management of high cholesterol as part of the modifiable risk factors for heart disease.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is an essential body ingredient found in all human cells as part of the structure of the cell membranes. It plays an essential role in the synthesis of steroid hormones, cortisol, corticosterone and aldosterone, male and female hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids. It is synthesised in the liver, and a large quantity passes down the bile duct into the intestine daily. Most of it is reabsorbed.