While it may not come as a shock to some, there are some common foods people eat daily that can raise your cholesterol levels and put you at risk for heart disease. In the article, you will learn about some of the most surprising offenders. Be sure to read carefully to make informed decisions about what to eat! If you’re trying to keep your cholesterol levels in check, you might want to avoid some foods on this list.
How Food Affects Your Cholesterol
It seems like everywhere you turn, someone is talking about cholesterol. But does your food affect it? Absolutely! Eating the wrong kinds of food can lead to higher LDL levels– the bad kind. On the other hand, eating a balanced diet with plenty of fiber and healthy fats can help to lower your cholesterol.
Making conscious dietary choices can go a long way toward maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and avoiding potential risks down the road, which is why it’s essential to ensure you’re getting enough foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and walnuts. Moreover, trans fats found in some processed foods can also increase your LDL levels, so it’s best to avoid these when possible.
Red meat – one of the most commonly eaten proteins in the Western diet – may be full of flavor and a favorite amongst many, but its high-fat content can do more harm than good to your cholesterol levels. The fats and protein found in red meat are known to raise LDL (bad) cholesterol while lowering your HDL (good) cholesterol. People who eat large amounts of this type of food will likely experience an increase in overall cholesterol levels and weight gain.
If you opt to include red meat in your diet, try limiting it to only small portions consumed about once or twice a week for the best results. Look for leaner cuts like ground beef and pork tenderloin, with visible fat trimmed off before cooking. Proteins from non-meat sources such as fish, poultry, beans, and nuts can also be excellent replacements for unhealthy red meats that raise cholesterol levels.
The prominent nutrient in egg yolks is dietary cholesterol, which can raise your overall blood cholesterol levels. Due to their high nutritional content, egg yolks have long been considered a healthy dietary choice. Unfortunately, they are also an excellent source of cholesterol, with one jumbo-sized egg containing over 240mg of cholesterol.
While this does not mean you have to eliminate egg yolks entirely from your diet, it does mean that for those who are trying to reduce their cholesterol levels, it’s important to limit the intake and make sure other sources of dietary cholesterol, such as red meat and dairy products, remain low too. Even better would be substituting regular whole eggs for their egg white counterpart since this will provide all the nutrition while reducing the cholesterol content substantially.
Though shellfish often appear harmless, they are chock full of cholesterol-raising saturated fat and cholesterol. A 3-ounce serving of jumbo shrimp contains 184 mg of cholesterol, while 4 ounces of oysters contain over 270 mg! Scallops don’t fare much better, accounting for over 140 mg of cholesterol per 3-ounce serving.
Those concerned about their cholesterol levels should limit their consumption of these popular seafood dishes to no more than twice a week. Unsuspecting diners could be easily misled into thinking that shellfish would be less likely to contribute to high levels, so it is vital to know the nutritional facts before indulging.
Store-Bought Baked Goods
Who would have thought that something as innocent as buying cookies or doughnuts from the store could profoundly affect your cholesterol? Unfortunately, that isn’t a surprise you need. Store-bought baked goods have high levels of trans fats and saturated fat, which can drastically raise bad cholesterol levels. To satisfy those cravings for delicious sweet treats, look for foods with little added sugar, fewer fats, and healthier alternatives such as vegan or wheat flour. These foods are often made with chemically-altered ingredients such as partially hydrogenated oil, leading to unhealthy shifts in your cholesterol levels. With simple adjustments like adding more fiber-rich whole grains or natural sweeteners, you can find healthier options that won’t wreck your cholesterol numbers.
Macaroni And Cheese
Although macaroni and cheese may seem like the ultimate comfort food, surprisingly, it can harm our cholesterol levels. If you’re trying to reduce your cholesterol intake, be aware that many commercially produced macaroni and cheese products contain high concentrations of saturated fat from cheese, butter, margarine, and other dairy products.
To reduce the amount of saturated fat in macaroni and cheese dishes, substitute some or all dairy ingredients with low-fat alternatives, which can increase the levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) in your blood and potentially elevate your risk of heart disease. Eating a smaller portion size is also recommended to help keep cholesterol levels under control.
Fried foods can be incredibly tasty and indulgent, but most of us don’t know that those same delicious dishes can dangerously raise our cholesterol levels. Studies show that fried foods, especially those cooked in unhealthy oils such as lard or palm oil, are highly detrimental to cardiovascular health.
Trans fats from fried food are even more problematic than saturated fats, as they increase total cholesterol and bad LDL cholesterol while lowering beneficial HDL cholesterol. The long-term effects are an increased risk of stroke and heart attack. Knowing this crucial information can help us make healthier choices and opt for grilled or boiled foods whenever possible.
Did You Know These Foods Can Raise Your Cholesterol?
In conclusion, it is vital to be aware of the cholesterol content in certain foods if we want to keep our levels under control. While some foods like shellfish and store-bought baked goods are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, others, such as fried foods and macaroni and cheese, are also problematic.
Fortunately, we can avoid these cholesterol-raising foods by substituting them with healthier alternatives and opting for smaller portions when eating out. Knowing the facts allows us to keep our cholesterol levels in check and reduce our risk of heart disease!