Remember when everyone freaked out about eggs and cholesterol? Eggs, shrimp, and other demonized foods have been forgiven as they aren’t a huge factor in raising your cholesterol as once believed.
Naturally, this has caused quite a bit of confusion for those seeking ways to improve cholesterol levels. Total cholesterol isn’t a great marker of heart health. As such, researchers are looking to find ways to make it easier to understand for everyone.
That being said, there are certain foods and drinks that are worse for cholesterol than other things. Enjoy your eggs and shrimp in moderation, and get ready to cut these foods and drinks out of your diet to help improve your cholesterol levels!
It’s not that egg breakfast that’s going to do you in. These are the 9 worst foods you can eat if you have high cholesterol.
Processed red meat
Meat is not the enemy for high cholesterol, but processed types are. When you eat lean, unprocessed red meat in moderation, it can be quite good for the health of your heart. Choosing those freakish processed meats are dangerous and have a higher risk of heart disease that come with them.
The trans fats that are made synthetically also raise your cholesterol levels. They can put you at a greater risk for heart disease too. Always read the labels of the foods you buy, particularly with anything prepackaged like baked goods and desserts. These are the most dangerous foods where trans fats lurk. There are plenty of tasty options without them, though even putting a keen eye on the chocolates you choose can help. Basically, you’ll want to avoid any food that lists “partially hydrogenated oils” in the ingredients.
Sorry, but you’ll have to say goodbye to traditional fries as well as other deep-fried fare. The oils that are used are brimming with high levels of unhealthy fats. Plus, when you use those oils to cook foods at the kind of high temperatures it takes to fry them, it creates a chemical reaction that forms more trans fats. Most fried foods are unhealthy or fatty from the start so creating trans fats with them doesn’t bode well for your cholesterol levels.
Time to swap out that white bread, pasta, and rice. Simple carbs like these are stripped of fiber. Then your body breaks them down in the same way as it does sugar which leads to rising inflammation and LDL cholesterol. Choose unrefined carbohydrates instead or else you’ll be putting your body through the same effects as it would get from consuming soda.
Not all of the offerings in the cereal aisle will cause you cholesterol woes, but you need to keep an eye out. Most have refined carbohydrates and added sugars. One study took people with healthy blood sugar levels and found they were plunged into prediabetic and diabetic levels after eating just one bowl of cereal with milk. If you want to start your day off on the right foot, choose heart-healthy, unsweetened steel-cut oatmeal instead.
This one tends to shock people because so many taut it for its healthy properties. However, coconut oil has a high saturated fat content which can make your HDL cholesterol levels rise. Limiting it will help, but it’s probably best to use other healthy oils for cooking your meals than to risk your health by using coconut oil.
If you eat fast food more than once per week, you’d better find a new place for lunch. Fast food lacks nutrients that you need and can increase your LDL cholesterol as well as the total levels. In the long-term, these higher levels can put you at a 10% greater risk for coronary artery disease. Additionally, because fast food tends to come with tons of salt, you’ll have elevated blood pressure which puts you even more at risk for heart disease. Break away from the drive-thru and change your eating habits now before it’s too late.
Bottled salad dressings
But wait…what if you drive-thru for a salad instead? Better not. Salad dressings that are commercially made come with a bounty of added sugar. There’s so much added sugar in these bottled dressings that just one serving of it may have more sugar than the recommended daily value. Your best choice is to make it from scratch yourself, or ask for oil and vinegar when you’re dining out.
Dairy is under scrutiny yet again. Research shows that aged cheddar and whole-fat yogurt have no effect on your cholesterol, especially if you eat it in moderation. But having more of these things, especially ice cream, and consuming them more often can cause health troubles down the road.
To keep your cholesterol level healthy, stick with fiber-rich food options. Oats naturally lower your cholesterol so make that the way you begin each day. Whole grains, beans, and nuts offer a bounty of fiber to fill you up and help tame high cholesterol. Choosing fruits rich in pectin, a kind of soluble fiber known for lowering cholesterol, will improve your metrics. Things like strawberries, apples, grapes, and citrus are excellent options.
Fatty fish and soy-based foods like tofu can round out any meal with good health. Ideally, you’ll fight off high cholesterol levels with plenty of fiber and by eliminating the items listed above from your daily intake. It’s not always easy to stick to, but taking it one day at a time will bring you closer to your best health.