In the UK, a total blood cholesterol level of 5mmol/l or less is recommended but two-thirds of adults in Britain have a level above this. The good news is that for many people it can be lowered by small changes to the diet, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking and exercising regularly. It sounds like you have a healthy lifestyle and are making some appropriate dietary changes to help lower your cholesterol, but there may be more you can do.
Although some foods such as shellfish and eggs contain dietary cholesterol, this doesn’t raise your blood cholesterol much. Your cholesterol levels are mainly influenced by other fats that you eat and it is far more important that you cut down on saturated fats. Reduce your intake of butter, fatty meat and meat products, full-fat dairy products and biscuits, cakes and pastries made with coconut oil, palm oil and butter.
Opt instead for foods that contain a relatively high proportion of unsaturated fat, such as vegetable oils (sunflower, corn, soyabean, rapeseed, olive), nuts and seeds, and oily fish (mackerel, herring and salmon). Foods that contain soluble fibre, such as oats, beans, pulses, lentils, nuts, Quorn, fruits and vegetables can help to lower cholesterol. Soy is low in saturated fat and provides fibre so you could try adding tofu to stir-fries instead of meat or salads, or switch to soya milk.
You can also buy products with added plant sterols and stanols. These are found naturally in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes but the quantities are too small to achieve a blood cholesterol-lowering effect. Foods enriched with these substances are widely available (look at the packaging of spreads, yogurts) and can be included as part of a healthy diet.