High Cholesterol Foods To Avoid For Good Health
Cholesterol is naturally made in your liver and is in every cell of your body, but don't panic! The human body needs cholesterol to make hormones and help your brain, skin, and other organs work the way they should.
There are two main types of cholesterol:
LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, or "bad cholesterol."
This type of cholesterol can combine with proteins and other substances in the blood to make plaque. Cholesterol plaques can buildup and cause blood vessels to become stiffer, narrower, or blocked.
HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, or "good cholesterol".
HDL cholesterol removes cholesterol from the blood vessels and carries it back to the liver, where it is broken down and removed from the body.
While avoiding foods with high cholesterol content may be beneficial for some, recent research shows that for most people, consuming healthy foods that are high in cholesterol won't harm your health. In fact, some cholesterol-rich foods are loaded with essential nutrients that are lacking in many people's diets.
So what foods should you avoid?
Loaded with calories and trans fats, fried foods can increase heart disease risk while also being detrimental to your health in many other ways. High consumption of fried foods has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
These trans fats are found in packaged foods such as cookies, pastries, mayonnaise, crackers, microwave popcorn, and frozen dinners. They're used because they increase a product's shelf life. You can avoid these high-cholesterol culprits by checking food/ingredients labels carefully.
High consumption of processed meats has been linked to increased rates of heart disease and certain cancers like colon cancer.
This includes sausages, hot dogs, salami, ham, bacon, salted and cured meat, corned beef, smoked meat, dried meat, jerky and canned meat.
When you do eat meat, trim off any visible fat on steaks and chops, and always remove the skin from turkey and chicken, choosing lean cuts is also essential.
Full-fat dairy products
Many people don't realise how much-saturated fat they get from dairy products such as full-fat ice cream, cheese, whole milk, and whole-fat yogurt. Instead, aim for skimmed or low-fat dairy products or switch to a healthy alternative such as almond milk.
Cookies, cakes, ice cream, pastries and other sweets are unhealthy foods that tend to be high in cholesterol, as well as added sugars, unhealthy fats and calories. These foods are often devoid of the nutrients your body needs to thrive. These include vitamins, minerals, protein and healthy fats. Here are common added sugars to check for and avoid:
- Brown sugar
- Corn sweeteners and syrup
- Dextrose and fructose
- Fruit juice concentrates
- High fructose corn syrup
What else can you do?
Here are a few other lifestyle style changes you can make to lower your cholesterol and live a healthier, happier life.
Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids don't affect LDL cholesterol. But they have other heart-healthy benefits, including reducing blood pressure. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, herring, walnuts and flaxseeds.
Add whey protein to your diet
Whey protein, which is found in dairy products, may account for many of the health benefits attributed to dairy. Studies have shown that whey protein given as a supplement lowers both LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol as well as blood pressure.
Moderate physical activity can help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol. With your doctor's OK, work up to at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week. Consider:
Walking during your lunch hour
Riding your bike to work
Playing a favourite sport
Investing in home gym equipment
Quitting smoking improves your HDL cholesterol level. The benefits occur quickly:
Within 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate recover from the cigarette-induced spike
Within three months your blood circulation and lung function begin to improve
Within a year of quitting, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker