High Cholesterol Foods to Avoid
No matter how hard you try to keep fit and exercise regularly, it would be difficult to shed off some weight if you are still eating unhealthy and high cholesterol foods. The modern diet, especially in developed countries, tends to be high in sodium, saturated fats and trans fat that raises the blood cholesterol level. Most foods being consumed by people are meats, dairy products, fast foods, and baked goods that are high in trans fat. For those who are at risk of cardiovascular disease or suffering from any heart disease, it is necessary to avoid foods containing high amounts of fats and carbohydrates that can have a huge impact on your cholesterol.
Avoiding high-fatty foods completely is not really necessary. In fact, foods that contain some cholesterol can still be consumed. You just have to take them in moderation and control your portion servings. You have to remember that cholesterol is needed by the body to produce hormones and helps digest foods. Your body produces enough cholesterol to help with these bodily functions, but consuming high cholesterol foods can increase the cholesterol level and lead to many health problems.
Health experts also recommend a more balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. Replace high cholesterol foods with nutrient-dense foods that can cleanse the body, treat inflammation, and help you fight diseases. Other people may need to change their lifestyle and avoid certain habits like smoking and drinking too much alcohol.
High Cholesterol Foods to Lessen or Avoid
Here are some examples of high cholesterol foods that you can try to eat in moderation, or even avoid altogether.
In previous years, most people believed that margarine was a healthier alternative to butter. However, this assumption was proven to be wrong because research has shown that margarine contains high amounts of trans fat that can be damaging to your heart. The hard-stick margarine are the worst since they have more trans fat made from partially hydrogenated oils. If you are going to buy a margarine, you can look for the ones made with plant sterols because they are proven to lower the LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol by as much as 14%.
Mac and Cheese
Macaroni and Cheese is a favorite comfort food by most people. However, the typical mac and cheese are made with ingredients that are high in saturated fats such as butter, whole milk, and cheese. High cholesterol foods are often loaded with ingredients that can raise up the calorie count. But the good news is that you can change some of the ingredients to lessen its negative impact on your cholesterol level. For mac and cheese, you can use fat-reduced cheese and evaporated milk.
Ice cream is probably one of the most popular dessert snacks in the US. Billions of gallons of ice cream are consumed each year by both children and adults. But the bad news is that a single cup of ice cream contains more fat than a hamburger. Ice cream also has double the saturated fat of a sweet glazed doughnut. Instead of ice cream for dessert or snack, try eating more fruits. Apples, pears, banana, oranges, and other delectable fruits are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants that can keep you healthier and even lower your cholesterol level.
Alcohol, when taken in moderation, can be good for your health because it lessens the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, it can be damaging to your health if you are drinking too much. High amounts of alcohol in the body can raise the triglyceride and cholesterol levels and lead to high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, and heart disease. Moderate alcohol consumption raises your HDL or good cholesterol by speeding up the transport of proteins in the body. Drinking more than the moderate amount, which is up to 5 grams per day, can have a negative effect.
Microwave popcorn is another favorite snack that is included in the high cholesterol foods list because of the way it is usually prepared. Popcorn is loaded with butter, salt, and oil, which adds more cholesterol. Next time you prepare your popcorn, go for the unsalted and no butter popcorn. Instead of the unhealthy extras, you can use olive oil and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of the popcorn.
The liver is a good source of iron, but it is also considered as one of the high cholesterol foods. Animal liver is the source of cholesterol, and it is where it is made and stored. This is where you will find the highest concentration of cholesterol. The liver can be good for you because of its high iron content, but you have to consume it in moderation. Eating too much liver can contribute to elevating your cholesterol level and causing kidney stones.
Processed meats such as bacon, sausages, hot dogs, and salami are considered as high cholesterol foods because they contain too much-saturated fats, sodium, and calories. This is the reason why most doctors and health experts caution people to limit their consumption of these foods. Studies have proven that processed meats are closely linked to cardiovascular diseases and stroke. It also causes inflammation that increases the risk of so many serious diseases. Even the ones labeled with reduced fat still contain a considerable amount of saturated fats. Eating bacon, hot dogs, and sausages all the time may be very tempting, but you have to think about the consequences to your health.
Chicken may be the preferred low-fat meat for people who are trying to lose weight, but frying it may not be the best choice. One fried chicken leg with the skin on contains more saturated fat than a hamburger. Again, it is in the preparation of the chicken, which makes a huge difference in its fat and calorie content. You can remove the skin before eating, or you can just have it grilled or baked. Leaving the skin on and deep frying it is not a healthy option. When eating chicken, go for the skinless. Remember that many high cholesterol foods are fried or deep fried.
Hamburger is a favorite food, not only in America but in many parts of the globe. Hamburgers are the main reason why McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King are so popular worldwide. People love hamburgers because of it’s thick beef patty and loaded with cheese, onions, lettuce, bacon, and many more. But if you’re trying to control your cholesterol level, you may want to think twice before going to your favorite fast food restaurant. A McDonald’s Big Mac contains about 85 mg of cholesterol, while the Classic Double from Wendy’s has a whopping 175 mg of cholesterol. That’s a lot of cholesterol in every bite.
- French Fries
French fries are another snack that you should watch out for when it comes to cholesterol. They are fried using hydrogenated vegetable oils, which makes them very unhealthy. Many high cholesterol foods are prepared with partially hydrogenated oils, which make them high in trans fat. Fast food restaurants prefer partially hydrogenated oils because they make the food more stable and less likely to get spoiled. This type of oil can also be heated repeatedly without breaking down, making them the ideal oil for frying French fries and other fast foods.
There is a reason why health experts recommend more fruits and vegetables in everyone’s daily diet and less red meat. Pork, beef, and lamb meat contain high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat than any other meat. If you are overweight or you already have heart disease, eating too much red meat could only worsen your health condition. A healthy alternative to red meat is chicken, fish, and vegetable proteins. If buying red meat, make sure that you get the leanest variety of red meat to minimize the fats.
Refined Grain Food Products
Some high cholesterol foods are high in refined carbohydrates such as pasta, bagels, tortilla, and white bread. These foods are not good for your HDL cholesterol level because they tend to have a high glycemic index. Start reducing your consumption of white bread and pasta so you can improve your HDL cholesterol level once again.
Potato chips and other processed snack foods are considered as high cholesterol foods. Potato chips and packaged foods are very high in sodium, which is very unhealthy for the body. Snacking on these types of packaged foods increases the frequency of eating, which leads to obesity and high cholesterol levels. Try replacing potato chips with dried fruits, nuts, or vegetables to lower your cholesterol level.
Cookies, Pastries, Muffins, and Sugary Foods
Almost everyone loves sugary foods. However, most of the packaged and processed sweet foods have high amounts of added sugar and trans fat that can raise triglycerides, increase LDL cholesterol, and decrease the HDL or good cholesterol. Too much of these high cholesterol foods such as cookies, muffins, candies, and baked goods, can lead to weight gain and cause inflammation in the body. Sweetened beverages should also be minimized or avoided completely. Energy drinks, soda, and powdered juices have high amounts of sugar that can damage your health.
Shellfish may be rich in nutrients and provide many health benefits, but they are also considered as high cholesterol foods. If you like eating lobster, then keep in mind that 3 ounces of lobster already has 61 mg of cholesterol. It could get even worse if you dip the lobster in butter.