In many cases high cholesterol happens because of the type of foods that we eat. In this article we are going to give you the list of High Cholesterol foods not to eat, we will cover what foods to leave out of your diet and what foods to include in your diet. Combining the proper food with exercise will ensure that you keep your cholesterol levels healthy and lower your cholesterol naturally
Did you know the wrong type of food raises your cholesterol levels?
Over time high cholesterol will become part of plaque build-up on the arterial wall and increase your risk of a cardiovascular event like a heart attack or a stroke. Arterial plaque is made up of high cholesterol, fat, calcium and other fatty substances,
Our liver produces cholesterol naturally travelling throughout the body building cell membranes from proteins in the blood. Our bodies need cholesterol for hormone production, to produce vitamin D and make a substance that digests fatty acids. The foods that we eat also contain cholesterol.
We are what we eat so your lifestyle, eating habits and genetics play a part in producing too much cholesterol, we know that when plaque forms in the arteries it can cause a blood flow blockage, this puts pressure on your heart and may cause coronary heart disease, stroke or a heart attack.
Cholesterol levels can be controlled by following a diet rich in cholesterol lowering foods and exercise. HDL cholesterol is the ” good” cholesterol because doctors tell us that it can control the “bad” or LDL cholesterol to a certain extent, by choosing foods that contain HDL cholesterol and not foods that contain LDL cholesterol.
The list of high cholesterol foods
Foods that contain saturated fats are meat or dairy products because their liver produces more bad cholesterol, saturated fats are commonly found in fish, nuts, beans, vegetable oils and plants, saturated have a higher melting point compared to unsaturated fats. Foods that contain a high percentage of saturated fats would include cheese, butter, cream, dairy products, whole milk products, fatty meats contains diary cholesterol. A higher percentage of saturated fat is found in some vegetable products like coconut oil and palm kernel oil, prepared foods like dairy, desserts, pizza and sausage fit into this category
Some typical examples of saturated fat foods are:
- Dairy products produced from whole or reduced fat milk
- Poultry products with skin
- Coconut oil, palm kernel or palm oil (saturated vegetable oils)
- Fatty beef
Back in the 1950’s food producers started using trans-fat also known as unsaturated fatty acid or trans fatty acids, it was produced from vegetable oils to manufacture margarine, packaged baked foods, snack food trans-fat was also used for frying fast food. Trans fats are edible but ingesting them regularly can lead to an increase in LDL “bad” cholesterol LDL (low density lipoprotein) and a corresponding risk increase for coronary heart disease. Trans fats can also lower the “good” HDL or high-density lipoprotein in the blood vessels causing inflammation. Foods that are manufactured from trans fats are to be avoided because of the increased risk of a cardiovascular event. Here are some examples
- Cookies, donuts, pastries & cakes
- Buttered popcorn
- Potato chips
- Canned frosting
- Shortbread products
- Fried fast foods
- Frozen pizza
- Microwave breakfasts
- Look for products that contain partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated vegetable oils
Unsaturated fats are fats or fatty acids where there is more than one double bond within the fatty food chain. Fat molecules are either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated monounsaturated one double bond, polyunsaturated in excess of one double bond. The higher the level of double bonds the greater risk of damage to the body’s cells, this is called lipid peroxidation, anti-oxidants play an important role in protecting fat from lipid peroxidation.
Meat products are composed of both unsaturated and saturated fats, unsaturated fats are more commonly found in plants, fish, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils. These fats help the liver to reabsorb and break up LDL or “bad” cholesterol. According to the Dieticians products made from unsaturated fats are healthy for you and should be included in your diet because they reduce the risk of high cholesterol, they recommend eating oily fish as part of your diet because of the beneficial effects of Omega 3 in reducing cholesterol. They also recommend a diet that contained Omega 6 fats to replace saturated and trans fats so go for foods like:
- Sunflower seeds
- Walnuts, pine, brazil, or pecan nuts
- Use sesame oils instead of lard
- Use margarine spreads instead of butter
Cholesterol is broken down into two types low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL) LDL or “bad” cholesterol, LDL lipoprotein deposits cholesterol which sometimes can stick to the artery walls and form a plaque leading to a hardening of the arteries’ lipoprotein does a good job in collecting the bad cholesterol in the arteries and bringing it back to your liver where it is disposed of.
Foods that contain HDL cholesterol should be your preferred choice for a healthy cardiovascular system is the “good” cholesterol but it is also important to keep the “bad” LDL cholesterol under control.
The American Heart Association recommend that you incorporate some exercise into your diet regime to combat cardiovascular disease, moderate physical activity of around 150 minutes per week is advisable along with a nutrient rich
combination of foods that include;
- low-fat dairy
- whole grains
- a good variety of food & veg
- legumes & nuts
- non-tropical vegetable oils.
They also recommend that you choose the leanest cuts of red meat and limit your intake of saturated fat, trans fat, sweets and sugar sweetened drinks.
The British Heart Foundation has some great advice on the different types of sugar in foods, foods that have sugar already built in them are vegetables,fruit,and milk these foods are good for us so we don’t have a need to reduce our intake of them. What we do need to cut down on are foods that have added sugar in other words sugar that isn’t already there naturally. Foods that have sugar added include cakes, fizzy drinks, pizza, honey, syrup, fruit juice, processed foods, a chef will add sugar to some meals for sweetness as I’m sure a lot of home chefs do also.!
The Mayo Clinic offer 8 great tips for a healthier heart the first being to control your portion size, eat more vegetables & fruits, choose whole grains, watch unhealthy fats, choose low-fat protein foods, reduce sodium intake, plan your food for the week and finally TREAT YOURSELF.
Most people would agree avoiding food that has a high cholesterol percentage is beneficial for some the best and most effective way to lowering LDL cholesterol is by choosing a diet rich in unsaturated fat and avoid foods that contain trans-fat or saturated fat.
Being careful with the type of fat that goes into your body has a direct influence on your cholesterol level, it’s not only the type of fat but pay close attention to the quantities of fat, the amount of fat matters because it influences the balance of fatty acids binding to your liver cells to regulate production of cholesterol.
A study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a diet high in saturated fat led to increases in plasma cholesterol concentration as well as atherosclerotic lesions. A total of 16 studies were undertaken to consider the association between saturated fat and Coronary Heart Disease while 8 separate studies evaluated the association between saturated fat and stroke. The duration of the studies ranged from 6-23 years with mean & median follow ups of 14.3 & 14 years one after the other.
The studies to consider the association between saturated fat and CHD used date taken from 347,747 participants, out of those 11,006 developed Cardiovascular diseases.
The 8 studies on the association between saturated fat and stroke showed inverse association between saturated fat and haemorrhagic stroke.in just 2 studies with no association in the remaining 6 studies
Foods to avoid
The recommended daily intake of saturated fat is 6% or less of your total daily calories, so how do you accomplish this?
Food from animals contain cholesterol as well as fat, fat is the biggest concern, as we take in cholesterol from our foods it doesn’t absorb that well in our bloodstream so there is minimal effect on our cholesterol levels even after several hours, that’s not to say that some of the cholesterol may go to your arteries. Try to limit high cholesterol foods such as:
- Red meat
We do need some fat in our diets to ensure good carbohydrate levels, a diet to low in fat could cause harm to nerve and brain function and may increase inflammation. Choose healthy fat foods that may help to lower LDL cholesterol and maintain healthy levels of HDL.
We need fibre for a healthy heart, fibre is also key to good digestion it is found in two forms soluble & insoluble, soluble fibre clings to cholesterol in your bloodstream and assists in removing it when you have a stool, soluble fibre also helps to control blood sugar levels. You find soluble fibre in salmon, albacore tuna, sardines and trout, nuts, legumes, seeds, oats, chia, flaxseeds, oranges, brussels sprouts, blueberries oats & barley.
How you cook can influence how healthy your meal is, these simple steps can change the saturated fat percentage in your meals.
- Before cooking cut off visible fat from the meat and take off the skin from chicken
- Choose wine to baste the meat instead of fat
- When roasting meat use a rack for fat drainage
- Grill meat instead of frying
- Skim off congealed fat after you have refrigerated soup
This cholesterol reducing approach along with a balanced plant-based food plan and exercise will assist you in maintaining a healthier life and help in reducing your risk of heart disease.
Food tips to help avoid high cholesterol
Striving for a healthy lifestyle should be a priority to help keep cholesterol as normal as possible, these simple steps are a guide for you.
- Avoid fatty meats like sausages, salami, choose lean meat like turkey breast or lean cooked chicken
- Have tinned fish at least twice a week
- Use polyunsaturated margarines instead of butter
- Eat lean meat
- Eat more varieties of fruit & vegetables every day
- Use low fat milk, yoghurts and low-fat dairy products
- Eat more fibre so have legumes, nuts and seeds
- Reduce your intake of cheese to two days a week, the same goes for ice cream
- Eat more whole grains
- Eat more garlic
Supplements may help to reduce cholesterol in combination with a plant-based diet and exercise
High cholesterol means
What foods to avoid
Foods to reduce your high cholesterol