High cholesterol is one of the leading causes of heart disease and it kills thousands of people every year. Fortunately, cholesterol levels can be controlled by smart choices in the kitchen. Our everyday food choices have a big impact on cholesterol so it is important that we eat the right foods and avoid the unhealthy ones.
Before jumping into the foods, let’s first define the two types of cholesterol in the human body:
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) – the good cholesterol
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) – the bad cholesterol
Most cholesterol patients have elevated LDL levels or lowered HDL levels, or both. For a healthy heart, both HDL and LDL need to be kept in check.
By eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong foods, you can ensure that your HDL and LDL cholesterol levels are normal.
First, let’s look at the foods which you should avoid as a cholesterol patient. Most of these foods have high amounts of LDL (bad cholesterol) so you should limit your intake or avoid them altogether.
7 Foods to avoid if you have high cholesterol
1. Liver and Kidney meat
Animal organs such as liver, kidney, and even brain are usually delicious when cooked. Some cultures may be grossed out with these but a lot of cultures love to eat animal organs.
Unfortunately, these organs are extremely high in cholesterol. This applies to all kinds of organ meat, from chicken liver down to pig brain.
2. Egg yolk
One of the reasons why some people take out the yolk and only consume the egg white is because the yolk is high in cholesterol. That said, egg yolks are also high in many nutrients that are essential of the body. You can actually safely eat egg yolks regularly without harm. However, if your cholesterol is already high, then you should limit your intake.
3. Butter, Palm Oil, and Coconut oil
Oil and margarine are naturally high in cholesterol. Butter, palm oil, and coconut oil, in particular, are common ingredients that are high in cholesterol. These items should stay away from your kitchen if anyone in your family is a cholesterol patient.
4. Chips, Cookies, and Fried Snacks
This one should be quite obvious. Junk food and fried food are the biggest enemies of health in general. The high amounts of sodium and cholesterol in these foods does nothing but harm your body. Especially if you’re a cholesterol patient, you need to stay away from junk and fried food.
Cake is the go-to sweet for most birthdays. As a result, the average person eats so much cake in a year without realizing it. Think about it.
Cakes are heavy since they’re made of so many ingredients, most of which are really unhealthy. So, cake doesn’t only take its toll on your belly, but also on your cholesterol levels.
6. Fast foods
If you have cholesterol problems, you have no choice but to say goodbye to pizza, burgers, fries, and all the fast foods out there. Otherwise, chances are these fast foods will be the cause of your demise – you don’t want that to happen, do you?
As convenient and delicious fast foods may be, they wreak havoc on your cholesterol levels by lowering your good cholesterol (HDL) and increasing your bad cholesterol (LDL). After all, there’s always a drawback to everything that’s “fast”.
Seafood like shrimp, scallops, crabs, and the like are very high in cholesterol, even more than beef and pork. And this applies to most types of seafood except fish. Fish has the least cholesterol among seafood so you can safely eat fish without worrying about its cholesterol. But for most other seafood, limit your intake.
Avoiding the foods mentioned above is a minimum and will do your cholesterol levels a big favor. Now, let’s look at 7 foods that will help lower your bad cholesterol and also increase your good cholesterol. If you’re a cholesterol patient, these foods are a must in your diet!
7 Foods to increase HDL (good cholesterol) and lower LDL (bad cholesterol)
1. Olive Oil
Unlike most oils, olive oil is actually good for your cholesterol levels. This is because olive oil has mostly HDL (good cholesterol) and negligible amounts of LDL (bad cholesterol).
Olive oil is also the healthiest oil known to man. If possible, all your food at home should be cooked in olive oil for optimal heart levels.
Beans are also an excellent source of good cholesterol. Beans help regulate bad cholesterol as well. They are low in fat and high in protein, making them a staple healthy food for many.
Originally from India, lentils have been the favorite food of many vegetarian households in the country. Lentils offer good cholesterol (HDL) to your body and are also high in protein.
Fish is filled with healthy fats that are really healthy. Moreover, fish also has relatively high amounts of good cholesterol and low amounts of bad cholesterol compared to other meats. If you’re a cholesterol patient, increase your fish intake and minimize your intake of beef, pork, and seafood.
Having generous portions of whole grain, oatmeal turns out to be very effective in lowering cholesterol levels. Oatmeal also increases your HDL (good cholesterol), making it a superfood for a healthy heart.
6. High fiber food
Yep, anything with high fiber is good in fighting cholesterol problems. The most common food that comes to mind is broccoli, which is one of the most fiber-dense vegetables in existence. So, start eating your broccoli.
And we’re down to the last one, the good old Avocado. The avocado is the healthiest food on this entire page. Avocadoes are known to reduce blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Avocados not only help prevent and mitigate diseases but also make your body healthier than normal. Forget apples, an avocado a day keeps the doctor away.
So there you have it. Having high cholesterol can be annoying to deal with, but with the right choices in your diet, you can easily fight and even overcome high cholesterol.
Hope the information in this article was useful to you. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please share them in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you. If you want more health tips like these, don’t forget to subscribe!
What’s the fun in getting stronger and better alone? If you liked this post, go ahead and share it with your friends. Let’s get stronger together!