Cholesterol and Diet


Total Cholesterol

<200 mg/dL

Normal Levels

200 – 239 mg/dL

Borderline high

≥ 240 mg/dL


In order to have optiumum health and to have lower cardiovascular risk it is advisable to keep our cholesterol up to 200mg/dL.
Your daily diet can help in most cases to lower your cholasterol, nevertheless this is not always the case when hypercholesterolemia is herreditary.
With our diet, in order to achive lower values of cholesterol we need to be careful not only to diminish foods that elevate cholesterol levels, but also we need to eat more of those foods that help your body to lower cholesterol.

To be more precise, we need to avoid foods with high fat content especialy animal fat, so we prefer
-Skim milk/yoghurt and cheese with about 5-15% fat content.
-Meat with the lowest amount of fat, without skin e.g. it is preferable to choose fillet or chicken breast. Moreover, we need to eat red meat just once per week or once every fortnight (according to our blood test and our iron levels).

In order to lower our cholesterol we need to avoid:
Animal fats (e.g. from meat, full fat cheese/milk/yoghurt)
Sweets that usually contain a high amount of fat because of the butter, chocolate etc.
Chips and generally this type of assortments
All fried food


Vegetables and legumes
Olive oil but not a lot

* Last but not least, when you receive medication for cholesterol you should avoid grapefruit because it keeps the medication more hours in your body.




Milk, Yoghurt, Cheese and Calcium
Milk and Milk products comprise mainly from milk, yoghurt and cheese.

Milk is very important because it contains lactose, which helps with calcium absorption. On the other hand, many have lactose intolerance and are unable to digest lactose, so they either try and drink milk with less lactose or avoid it altogether.

Yoghurt is a refreshing food that helps the gastrointestinal health because of the probiotics. So yoghurt is a good choice when someone has constipation, or takes antibiotics and some studies suggest that it can guard the body against bowel cancer.

Cheese is one of the most condense sources of calcium especially when it comes for hard cheese such as parmesan. Cheese does not contain lactose and is easier to digest for those with lactose intolerance. Ofcourse cheese has usually more fat content than other milk products, so when you have elevated cholesterol, a better choice is those with less fat.

All milk and milk products have in common that they are rich in calcium. Calcium is a mineral that is aboundant in our body, such as bones and teeth, but our needs are usually greater than our consumption especially for women. And calcium is important when it comes to strong bones and correct consumption helps against osteoporosis. A balanced diet together with exercise protect the bones and during childhood and puberty bone density becomes greater. In order to achieve a good bone mineral density, we need to have a good calcium intake through milk and milk products.





  • -There is a need of extra folic acid during pregnancy, so now the need is of abour 600μg per day, the recomendation is to take supplementation for this, especialy during the 1st trimester. In general folic acid helps to prevent neural tube defects in the foetus and also helps the mother to bind the iron that she receives during the day which is very important since during pregnancy iron stores and haematocrit are easily diminished.
  • -During pregnancy as mentioned above there is need for more iron, iron can be recaived either from meat and especialy beef or from supplements. Iron is absorbed better when eaten or received with vitamic C e.g. orange juice or lemon over a steak. Iron cannot be absorbed when taken with calcium or products tha contail calcium, so avoid eating e.g. beef and cheese together. Iron is also poorly absorbed when received with tea or coffee. In conclusion, in order to have the best absorption of iron its is better to abstain for 2 hours before and after from coffee/tea/milk and milk products/calcium supplements.
  • -Concerning calcium the need is around 1000mg per day, and either you can chose to eat around 4 portions of milk and milk products or you might even take a supplementation not only during pregnancy but also during lactation.
  • -During pregnancy you should not follow a diet strict in calories, on the other hand this period is a time for good and nutritious foods but excessive weight gain might become harmful.
  • -The correct weight gain has to do with whether the prepregnancy weight was considered underweight/normal/overweight/obese.


BMR (Kg/m2)

1st trimester (Kg)

2nd and 3rd trimester weekly gain (Kg)

Total Wt Gain (Kg)





12.5 - 18.0

Normal Weight

19.8 - 26



11.5 - 16.0


>26 – 29



  7.0 - 11.5





at least  6.0

  • - Do not eat a lot before going to bed, preferably 3 hours before, or something lighter such as 1 fruit or 1 glass of milk 1 hour before bed.
  • -Try to choose products high in fibre such as wholemeal bread or cereals in order to avoid constipation.
  • -In case of constipation try to drink more water, kiwis, prunes. A good solution is in the morning before eating anything else and if do not have morning sickness, eat 2 kiwis and drink 2 glasses of water and try to walk for 3 minutes which usually helps the bowel.
  • -In case of morning sickness try to have small, frequent meals, and dry food such as ryvita or bread. It is also better not to drink a lot of water during meals, and problably fatty meals can upset the stomach. A good solution for breakfast could be:  2-3 ginger buscuits, or 1 slice of bread with 1 teaspoon of jam.



  • During pregnancy the following products are not allowed:
  • -Smoked fish (e.g. smoked salmon),
  • -sausages,
  • -pate,
  • -soft cheeses that are unpasteurised,
  • -meat that is not cooked such as prosciuto crudo,
  • -sushi and
  • -milk and milk products that are unpastaurised

  • -Do not consume multivitamins that are not for pregnant women these might contain harmful substances such as too much vit. A
  • -Avoid eating internal organs of animals such as liver, kidneys etc, because these have high amounts of vit A which can even cause problems to the foetus.
  • -It is advisable to drink plenty of water around 6-8 glasses per day
  • -Carbonated drinks should preferable be avoided whether these contain sugar or sweeteners, especialy those that contain caffeine.
  • -Sweeteners are artificial and should be avoided
  •  -It is advisable not to drink alcohol and never over 1 small glass with low alcohol. Especialy during the 1st trimester it is better not to drink alcohol at all.
  •  -Avoid as much as possible to eat tuna, salmon because of the mercury contamination. The highest amount that should never be exceeded is 2 small pieces (10 ounces/300 grams), but since they do pose a problem these are better be avoided. Completely avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish, because these have the highest mercury levels. Less but still high in mercury  canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, catfish.
  • In general fish up to 2 times per week is fine, sardines seem to be one of the less contaminated fish and in general small fishes are recomended.
  • -Do not eat fava beans either during pregnancy or lactation.
  • -Concerning caffeine up to 200 mg are allowed, it is preferable during the first trimester not to consume over 100mg/day and even better avoid it altogether. Since tea also contains a form of caffeine it is advisable not to drink more than 2 per day. Concerning coffee if you cannot avoid it at all try not to have more than one per day.

Some extra information:

  • During the 1st trimester there is no need for extra energy.
  • During the 2nd trimester there is a need of 340kcal extra during the day
  • During the 3rd trimester there is an extra need for energy of 452kcal per day.
  • There is a need of consuming more protein, so instead of 46 grams there is now a need of about 71 grams of protein per day.
  • There is a need of at least 135-175 grams of carbohydrates per day.         
  • During pregnancy an extra 10 mg of vitamin C are required, so a total of 85 grams is needed.

Disclaimer: All information given here are general suggestions, these do not replace a need to see a health care professional or a doctor and receive personalised care