• A good diet, rich in fruit,
    vegetables, wholegrain
    cereals and low in
    saturated fat and salt is
    a key part of managing
    raised cholesterol.
Health eating factsheets/downloads

Click on the links below to download our fact sheets (PDFs).

» Eating out
» Eating out - best choices
» Healthy lunchboxes
» UCLP leaflet

Helpline Module

Lines open Mon-Fri 10am-3pm
Punjabi, Urdu & Hindi spoken on Tuesdays


Calls to our 0345 helpline costs no more than calls to geographic (01 and 02) numbers and must be included in inclusive minutes on mobile phones and discount schemes. Calls from landlines are typically charged between 2p and 10p per minute while calls from mobiles typically cost between 10p and 40p per minute. Calls from landlines and mobiles to 0345 numbers are included in free call packages. 

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up for the HEART UK e-newsletter, simply enter your name and email address to receive all the latest news from HEART UK. 

Click to subscribe

Cholesterol and diet

HEART UK - the Cholesterol Charity offers lots of healthy eating advice to help reduce cholesterol levels including:

The Types of Fats That Affect our Cholesterol Levels.

There are two main types of fats: Saturated fats or Unsaturated fats

Saturated fats – these increase cholesterol levels


  • hard fats such as butter, lard, margarine and ghee.
  • fatty meat, burgers, sausages, bacon and kebabs,
  • dairy fats such as cream, cheese, full fat milk/yogurts
  • pastries, pasties, pies, cakes, rich creamy desserts and biscuits
  • Coconut oil and coconut cream

Unsaturated fats

Unsaturated fats are heart healthy and help improve cholesterol levels. It is important to replace some foods high in saturated fat with foods rich in unsaturated fats.  See our suggested swaps below.


  • vegetable, seed and nut oils such as sunflower, safflower, rapeseed, olive, walnut and corn oil
  • spreads based on these oils
  • all kind of nuts
  • oily fish such as herring, pilchards, mackerel, salmon and trout
  • avocado

In practise most foods contain a mixture of both saturated fats and unsaturated fats, but you can reduce your total intake of saturated fat by making some smart swaps. Try our suggestions below:

Eat less… Replace with…
Butter on bread and in sandwiches Spreads based on olive or sunflower oils
Butter, ghee, hard margarine, lard, goose fat in cooking

Modest amounts of vegetable oils and vegetable spreads

Fatty meat, sausages, burgers and other meat products

Modest portions of lean meat, chicken without skin and all kinds of fish - white and oily

Snacks such as pastries, chocolate, cakes and biscuits

Nuts, dried and fresh fruit, hummus

Full cream milk and yoghurts

Low fat milk and yoghurts


Lower fat cheese or smaller portions of full fat varieties

Cream soups and sauces

Vegetable soups and tomato based sauces

Frying especially using hard fat (lard, butter, ghee)

Grilling, braising, boiling, poaching, casseroles. If roasting or frying use small amounts of vegetable oil, such as rapeseed, sunflower or olive oil 

If you are trying to lose weight or need to restrict your total fat intake click here for more information on cooking with less fat.

Apart from reducing saturated fat and increasing unsaturated fats you could also improve your diet by:

1 in every 6 meals are eaten outside the home. Read our advice on eating out, healthy packed lunches and discover the best choices when eating out.

Need inspiration? TRY Our ©Ultimate Cholesterol Lowering Plan