Lipids (or fats) fall into three categories of fatty acids:

Saturated fatty acids, found in meat, pâtes, eggs and full-milk products.

Mono-saturated fats, found in olive oil, goose and duck fat and fois gras.

Polyunsaturated fats are present in a wide variety of foods. Vegetable polyunsaturated fats include seed oils (particularly sunflower oil) and fruit oils. Animal polyunsaturated fats are found mainly in fish and crustacea.

Lipids are an essential part of our diet. They play a part in the creation of cells, membranes and tissue. Lipids also contain many vitamins and essential fatty acids. They are needed for the synthesis of hormones.

To highlight the relationship between lipids and cholesterol levels we need to identify:

Fats that increase cholesterol levels. Saturated fats in meat, cheese, full-milk and palm oil.

Fats that have little effect on cholesterol levels. Crustacea, eggs and skinned chicken.

Fats that lower cholesterol levels. Vegetable oils such as olive oil, rape-seed oil, sunflower oil and corn oil.

If you eat less of the fats that increase cholesterol levels and more of the fats that lower cholesterol levels you will reduce the risk of hypercholesterolaemia and help to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Fish oils are not involved in the metabolism of cholesterol. They are, though, important in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Fish oils reduce the number of triglycerides and prevent the build up of thromboses. Eat fatty fishes such as salmon, tuna, herring and sardine.

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