4 Foods To Avoid If You Have High Cholesterol

4 Foods To Avoid If You Have High Cholesterol

Between 2017 and 2020, 10% of American adults over age 20 had total cholesterol that exceeded 240 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Nearly 17% of those people had high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good”) cholesterol levels below 40 mg/dL. About half of the adults in the U.S. could benefit from lowering cholesterol levels. Additionally, 86 million adults over the age of 20 have total cholesterol levels above 200 mg/dL.

It’s a sad reality when the statistic is that most adults in the U.S. have blood cholesterol levels higher than they should be. Health experts explain that there are many steps that can aid cholesterol-lowering efforts. In fact, it may be as simple as making some dietary changes and exercising on a regular basis. 

Which Foods Can Lower Cholesterol?

There are various foods that can help keep your LDL cholesterol levels in check. Some of those same foods can help elevate HDL cholesterol levels, which are beneficial to your heart. The following foods that may benefit cholesterol levels in various ways are:

  • Nuts
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Fatty fish
  • Eggplant
  • Okra
  • Oats
  • Barley (and other whole grains)
  • Strawberries

Not all foods that are high in cholesterol are necessarily bad for your health. For example, eggs are relatively high in cholesterol, but they don’t raise them as much as saturated fats or ultra-processed foods

What Foods Cause High Cholesterol?

If foods are rich in saturated fats or trans fats, you should steer clear of them because they can elevate cholesterol levels and cause weight gain. What are the absolute worst foods to eat if you have high cholesterol, though? Baked goods, red meat, fried foods, and others are notorious for raising LDL cholesterol. Avoid the following foods to help keep cholesterol levels in check

Processed Meats

Hot dogs, deli meat, bacon, sausage, and more all fall under the umbrella of processed meats. They tend to be high in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Bacon or sausage made with turkey might seem healthier, and even though they are somewhat lower in cholesterol than red meat alternatives, they are not cholesterol-free. 

Baked Goods

Cookies, pies, and cakes, oh my! Yes, all of these things are highly addictive and easy to eat, but they usually contain large quantities of butter or shortening, making them high in cholesterol. You don’t have to give up your sweets altogether, because you can still bake with different substitutions. You can use applesauce or bananas in place of butter, or have low-fat Greek yogurt topped with berries for dessert.

Red Meat

Lamb, beef, and pork generally contain a lot of saturated fat, especially the fattier cuts. Hamburgers, ribs, pork chops, shanks, and roasts tend to have more fat than leaner cuts of meat. You can eat meat on occasion, so long as you opt for smaller portions of leaner cuts, such as sirloin, filet mignon, or pork loin. Alternatively, replace meat with proteins that are much lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, such as turkey breast, wild caught fish, beans, lentils, quinoa, and boneless skinless chicken breast.

Fried Foods

Any food that takes a dip in the deep fryer is not going to be great for your body. Common fried foods include mozzarella sticks, onion rings, French fries, chicken wings, or fried chicken. Frying increases the energy density (calorie count) of foods. If you enjoy the crispiness of fried food, use an air fryer and toss your food in a little olive or avocado oil. Alternatively, you can bake foods at higher temperatures to achieve that crispy, golden-brown crunch.

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