15% off £30 OR 20% off £35


15% off £30 OR 20% off £35


🏷️ Buy 1 Get 1 Free☀️ Summer ShopOffersOffers HubBuy one get one 1/2 priceSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy 1 Get 1 Free25% off Online Only OfferOutletFree gift with purchase1/2 Price2 for £50Short DatedVitamins & SupplementsVitamins & Supplements HubVitamins & Supplements Shop AllCBDShop all CBDCBD OilCBD CapsulesCBD SprayCBD GummiesCollagen & SilicaHair, Skin & NailsShop all Hair, Skin & NailsHair GrowthFunctional MushroomsVitaminsShop all VitaminsMultivitaminsVitamin AVitamin BVitamin CVitamin DVitamin EVitamin KVitamin DrinksMineralsShop all MineralsMagnesiumIronZincCalciumSeleniumChromiumSupplementsShop all SupplementsFibre SupplementsAcidophilus & Friendly BacteriaPeppermint OilGrapeseed ExtractLecithinCollagen & SilicaOmega & Fish OilsPlant Sourced SupplementsSuperfood SupplementsArnicaApple CiderRaspberry KetonesAloe VeraChondroitin & MSMCo Enzyme Q10Evening Primrose OilGarlicGinkgo BilobaGlucosamineGlucomannanSeaweed, Kelps and Aquaceuticals5 HTPSaw palmettoCharcoalWomen's HealthShop all Women's HealthMenopauseMenstrual SupportUrinary Tract HealthPregnancy & ConceptionMen's HealthShop all Men's HealthProstate HealthChildren's HealthConditionShop all ConditionWater RetentionAllergy & Hay Fever CareAnxiety SupportBone & Muscle HealthMuscle Support & Joint PainBrain & Memory SupportWomen's HealthMen's HealthChildren's HealthPain ReliefCold & Immune SupportFatigueDigestive HealthHair, Skin & NailsHeart & CirculationLiver CareMood SupportSexual HealthSleep & RelaxationStress ReliefVisionHerbal & Licensed RemediesShop all Herbal & Licensed RemediesValerianSt John's WortRescue RemedyAgnus CastusAshwagandhaEchinaceaMilk ThistleDevil's ClawGinseng & GuaranaBlack CohoshHomeopathic & Flower RemediesShop all Homeopathic & Flower RemediesRescue RemedyTissue SaltsFlower RemediesHomeopathic RemediesAt-Home TestsVegan Vitamins & SupplementsBuy one get one 1/2 priceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeSave up to 1/2 PriceHolland & BarrettVitabioticsSolgarWeledaNew NordicBioglanBetterYouNatures AidGrass & Co.Nature's WayDairy FreeGluten FreeSesame Seed FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeLupin FreeNew inFood & DrinkFood & Drink HubFood & Drink Shop AllVegan FoodHoney, Jams & SpreadsShop all Honey, Jams & SpreadsManuka HoneyHoneyJams & ChutneysNut ButtersSpreadsPateTeas, Coffee & Hot BeveragesShop all Teas, Coffee & Hot BeveragesCoffee & Coffee SubstitutesMushroom DrinksTeasSuperfood TeasMatcha & Green TeaSleep & Relaxation TeaDried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsShop all Dried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsNutsDried FruitSeedsMixesSuperfoodsShop all SuperfoodsSuperfood PowdersMaca PowderGoji BerriesBaobabMoringa PowderFlaxseedSpirulinaChia SeedsSnacksShop all SnacksProtein BarsLow Calorie SnacksChocolate, Cakes & BiscuitsSavoury SnacksSweet SnacksSnack BarsCrisps & ChipsFlapjacksPopcornFood CupboardShop all Food CupboardHoney, Jams & SpreadsBreakfast CerealsSuperfoodsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesTinned FoodsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsBreakfast CerealsShop all Breakfast CerealsCereals, Bran & FlakesGranolaMuesliOats & PorridgeBreakfast BarsDrinks & JuicesShop all Drinks & JuicesKombuchaNatural Energy DrinksJuicesSoft DrinksWaterAlcohol Free DrinksCookingShop all CookingCooking IngredientsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesSoya & Meat AlternativeSoup & Ready MealsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsHerbs, Spices & SeasoningGravy & StockHome BakingShop all Home BakingBaking MixesBreadFlourSweeteners & Sugar AlternativesEgg SubstitutesDairy AlternativesShop all Dairy AlternativesOat, Rice & Hemp DrinksSoya DrinksNut DrinksCoconut DrinksNutritionally Complete FoodBuy one get one 1/2 priceSave up to 1/2 Price25% off Online Only OfferHolland & BarrettNaturyaHeath & HeatherPukkaGrenadeMeridianTwiningsBionaNakdHuelGluten FreeDairy FreeEgg FreeWheat FreeMilk FreeMustard FreeCelery FreeFish FreeSulphites FreeCrustaceans FreeNew inSports NutritionSports Nutrition HubSports Nutrition Shop AllProteinShop all ProteinClear ProteinWhey ProteinMass GainersVegan ProteinDiet ProteinCaseinSports SupplementsShop all Sports SupplementsTestosteroneSports CollagenBars, Drinks & SnacksShop all Bars, Drinks & SnacksEnergy BarsEnergy DrinksProtein BarsProtein ShakesProtein SnacksNutritionally Complete FoodMeal Replacement ShakesPre Workout & EnergyShop all Pre Workout & EnergyPre WorkoutAmino Energy DrinksAmino Energy PowdersIntra WorkoutKetoPost WorkoutAmino AcidsShop all Amino AcidsAmino Energy PowdersAmino Energy DrinksBCAAL-LysineGlutamineCarnitineArginineCreatineShop all CreatineCreatine PowderCreatine CapsulesRehydrationShop all RehydrationElectrolytesEnergy GelsVegan Sports NutritionShop all Vegan Sports NutritionVegan ProteinVegan Protein BarsVegan Pre Workout & EnergyVegan Amino AcidsVegan CreatineSports AccessoriesShop all Sports AccessoriesBottles & ShakersFitness EquipmentFitness GoalShop all Fitness GoalRecoveryMuscle & StrengthLean MuscleEnergy & EnduranceDiet & Weight LossSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy one get one 1/2 price2 for £50Optimum NutritionPE NutritionUSNApplied NutritionGrenadePhDSiSFoodspringHuelYfoodDairy FreeGluten FreeSugar FreeSoya FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeNew inBeautyBeauty HubNatural Beauty Shop AllAromatherapy & HomeShop all Aromatherapy & HomePure Essential OilsBlended Essential OilsBase & Carrier OilsHolisticSkincareShop all SkincarePremium SkincareFace CareBody CareSun CareTanning & BronzingEye CareLip CareFoot CareHand & Nail CareSkin AilmentsSkin OilsCBD BeautyHair Skin & NailsWashing & BathingShop all Washing & BathingShampoo & ConditionerBathing AccessoriesShower Gel & Body WashDeodorantDentalHand WashSoapBath Soak & OilBody ScrubBath Bombs & SaltsFeminine CareIncontinence SupportHair CareShop all Hair CareShampoo & ConditionerHair ColouringHair MasksHair Oil & SerumHair Spray, Gel & MousseHair AccessoriesMother & BabyShop all Mother & BabyBaby Skincare & ToiletriesElectrical WellnessSexual WellnessSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeBuy one get one 1/2 priceDr OrganicFaith in NatureWeledaNaturtintTisserandSukinMiaromaQ+AEthiqueSo EcoAlcohol FreeParfum FreeParaben FreeSLS FreePalm Oil FreeGluten FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeNew inCBDWeight ManagementWeight Management HubWeight Management Shop AllFat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsShop all Fat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsFat BurnersFat BindersAppetite SuppressantsSlimming TabletsShakes & Weight Management ShotsShop all Shakes & Weight Management ShotsMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinDiet Food & DrinkShop all Diet Food & DrinkDiet FoodLow Calorie SnacksSlimming TeaExercise SupportShop all Exercise SupportFitness EquipmentMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinProtein BarsSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy one get one 1/2 price2 for £50Optimum NutritionGrenadeHolland & BarrettUSNPhDPulsinEat WaterNatures AidNew NordicSlimExpertDairy FreeSugar FreeGluten FreeWheat FreeNew inVeganHealth & WellnessShop all Health & WellnessJoints Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair Skin & NailsStress AnxietySleep & RelaxationBuy one get one 1/2 priceBuy 1 Get 1 FreeSave up to 1/2 PriceHolland & BarrettWeledaVitabioticsDr OrganicSolgarNaturtintOptimum NutritionNew NordicHeath & HeatherBioglanDairy FreeGluten FreeParaben FreeSLS FreeAlcohol FreeParfum FreeSugar FreeWheat FreeSoya FreeEgg FreeNew inShop for your WellnessWomen's HealthMenstrual HealthMenopauseJoints, Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair, Skin & NailsImmunitySleep & RelaxationFood & DietChildren's HealthStress ReliefHealthy HeartEnergyLow Mood & DepressionConcentration & AlertnessEye HealthSexual HealthLearn about WellnessWomen's HealthPeriods & Cycle HealthMenopauseJoints, Bones & MusclesImmunityGut HealthFood & DietSports & FitnessSleep & RelaxationHair Skin & NailsAll articlesHealthFood & nutritionGut healthImmunityJoints, bones & musclesWomen's healthWellnessHair & skinMental wellbeingSeasonalSleep & relaxationSports nutritionRecipesAll recipesGluten freeLow sugarVeganDairy freePodcast

What causes high cholesterol?

foods that cause high cholesterol
Understanding what causes high cholesterol is a great step towards managing your wellness. This blog explains cholesterol and some common terminology.
Understanding your blood cholesterol is a great step towards managing your wellness. So, here we delve into what causes high cholesterol and explain some common terminology you may see on the readings from a cholesterol test. Cholesterol is a common indicator of wellness and a term most of us are familiar with. But do you actually understand what is cholesterol? What about LDL and HDL – do you know the difference between good cholesterol and bad cholesterol? And how can you spot if your LDL cholesterol levels are creeping up too high?

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in your blood. Your liver naturally produces it, but it can also be consumed in foods such as red meat, high-fat cheese, butter and eggs. Some cholesterol is healthy. In fact, it’s used all around your body to perform some vital bodily functions.1

What is cholesterol used for?

  • It helps create a healthy outer wall for cells around your body.
  • By contributing to the production of bile acids, it supports digestion and the absorption of fats.
  • It helps with the creation of hormones and vitamin D. So, it has an important role in keeping your bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
To perform these essential functions, the liver produces most of the cholesterol you need. So, what happens if you end up with more of the fatty substance in your bloodstream than you need? This is referred to as high cholesterol and it can in time cause you problems. Excess cholesterol can start to build up and stick to the walls of your arteries. This makes your blood vessels get stiffer and narrower. Because it’s more difficult for blood to flow freely around your body, if cholesterol continues to accumulate, it can increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Good cholesterol v bad cholesterol

As a fat (or lipid), cholesterol can't travel in your bloodstream on its own. Before being released into your bloodstream, the lipids attach to protein. Lipids plus proteins, combine to create ‘lipoproteins’, which are spherical parcels that carry cholesterol in your bloodstream to wherever in your body they’re needed.2 Your body creates many variations of lipoprotein, but there are two main types – HDL and LDL. But which one is good cholesterol?
  1. Low density lipoprotein (non-HDL or LDL cholesterol)
These lipoproteins contain higher volumes of cholesterol. Their function is to transport cholesterol from the liver to cells around your body.3 But if there’s more cholesterol than the body needs, it has the potential to build up and clog arteries. This earns LDLs the label ‘bad’ cholesterol.
  1. High density lipoprotein (or HDL cholesterol)
This lipoprotein contains less cholesterol and more protein. Its role is to return the cholesterol you don’t need back to the liver. Here it can be used to make bile acids which help with digestion. Or, it’s broken down so it can either be absorbed back into the blood and returned to the liver, or excreted as waste. HDLs can prevent disease, so they get the more favourable title of ‘good’ cholesterol.

What causes high cholesterol?

Anyone can get high cholesterol. Even if you’re fit, healthy and slim. However, here are ten risk factors that can make you more susceptible to raised levels of blood cholesterol.4
  1. Diet. Eating too much saturated fat or a high cholesterol diet.
  2. Alcohol. Drinking more than the recommended amount of alcohol.
  3. Smoking
  4. Being inactive
  5. Existing health conditions. For example, an underactive thyroid gland, type 2 diabetes, liver disease or kidney disease.
  6. Being overweight
  7. Genes. Susceptibility can be inherited from your parents.
  8. Age. Raised cholesterol levels are more common as you get older.
  9. Gender. Men are more likely to have high cholesterol levels.
  10. Ethnicity. People from a South Asian background can have a high risk of high cholesterol

There are often no signs of high cholesterol

Public Health England estimate that six out of ten adults in England have high cholesterol.5 But although it’s common, finding out you have high cholesterol often comes as a surprise. There aren’t any physical high cholesterol symptoms or obvious warning signs that your LDL levels are creeping up too high. The only way to find out if you have healthy cholesterol levels is to have a cholesterol test at your doctors (a simple blood test) or to buy a cholesterol test kit.

But what do cholesterol readings mean?

Type of cholesterol Normal cholesterol levels
Total cholesterol. The combined amount of good and bad cholesterol in your blood. 5 or lower
HDL. The amount of good cholesterol in your blood. 1 or lower
LDL. A measure of the bad cholesterol in your blood. 3 or lower
Triglycerides. Another type of fat found in your blood that’s similar to bad cholesterol and can also contribute to the narrowing of arteries. 2.3 or lower
Note: This is general NHS guidance on cholesterol readings.6

Are there natural ways to lower cholesterol?

Healthy levels of blood cholesterol are specific to each person. And what causes high cholesterol also varies between individuals. So, your doctor will interpret your cholesterol chart in the context of your personal circumstances and risk factors. For some people medication (e.g. statins) provides the best answer to how to lower your cholesterol. But by making positive, natural diet and lifestyle changes, many people are able to lower cholesterol naturally. Last updated: 21 July 2020 Sources https://patient.info/heart-health/high-cholesterolhttps://www.heartuk.org.uk/cholesterol/what-is-cholesterolUnderstanding cholesterol brochure by the British Heart Foundationhttps://www.heartuk.org.uk/cholesterol/what-is-high-cholesterolhttps://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2015/10/12/high-cholesterol-beating-the-build-up-during-cholesterol-month/https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/high-cholesterol/cholesterol-levels/

Related Articles

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • PayPal
  • AmericanExpress
  • ApplePay
  • ClearPay
  • AliPay
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Copyright © Holland & Barrett Retail Limited, 2024. All rights reserved. hollandandbarrett.com is a trading name of Holland & Barrett Retail Limited,. Registered office: Samuel Ryder House, Barling Way, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV10 7RH. Registered in England: company no. 2758955. Registered VAT no. 211727395.