Smart Choices For Healthy Heart: Foods To Avoid With High Cholesterol!

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Published on: 03-Feb-2024

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Amrita Sandhu

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Smart Choices For Healthy Heart: Foods To Avoid With High Cholesterol!

Smart Choices For Healthy Heart: Foods To Avoid With High Cholesterol!

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Do you ever wonder if your favourite treats are silently harming your health? While some foods are celebrated for their heart-loving benefits, others lurk in the shadows, packed with cholesterol-raising villains. But fear not, health warriors! This blog is your shield and sword in the battle for a healthy heart.

Cholesterol is a waxy fat substance produced in the liver & found in the blood. Cholesterol performs many functions in our body, but if the cholesterol levels become high, then it can be a causative factor for several health problems. 


This blog will walk you through some foods to avoid with high cholesterol or, simply put, foods to avoid high cholesterol levels. Plus, it will also elucidate the healthier alternatives to safeguard your cardiovascular health. Read on!

Table Of Contents 

  1. Understanding Cholesterol And Its Types

  2. 6 Types Of Foods To Avoid For High Cholesterol Levels

  3. Healthier Alternatives: Foods To Eat With High Cholesterol

  4. The Final Say

  5. FAQs

  6. References 

Understanding Cholesterol And Its Types

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in every cell membrane, acting as a vital building block and maintaining membrane fluidity. It also participates in essential functions like hormone production, vitamin D synthesis, and bile acid creation for fat digestion. Cholesterol is mainly divided into two types, which are:

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL)

High-density lipoprotein (HDL)

It is also known as bad cholesterol because if its level increases, it can lead to plaque formation (fatty deposits) in the arteries, which can be an invitation to heart disease.

This type is called "good" cholesterol because it may help protect you from heart disease by reducing harmful cholesterol levels.


Our diet accounts for up to 20 to 30 % of the circulating blood cholesterol levels. Other factors include genetics, certain diseases, age and poor lifestyle, which may also influence your cholesterol levels. 


Also, adding certain foods can enhance your quality of life and lower cholesterol levels. Therefore, good food choices can help you manage your cholesterol levels thereby reducing your risk of blood clots and other heart diseases. Be mindful of what you eat, read on for some cholesterol foods to avoid.


Also Read: Normal Range Of Cholesterol Levels: Maintain A Healthy Range

6 Types Of Foods To Avoid With High Cholesterol Levels


Cholesterol is present in many foods in different forms; while some of them are high in cholesterol yet nutritious, others are only high in cholesterol, which is not so good for your health. Here are some foods not to eat with high cholesterol:

1. Full-Fat Dairy Products 

  • Whole milk, butter, full-fat yoghurt, and cheese are high in saturated fat. 

  • Cheese is also high in sodium. 

  • Limit your cheese intake to about 3 ounces per week and choose partially skim cheeses, such as Swiss or mozzarella, when cooking. 

  • Drink 1% or 2% skim milk to get the necessary calcium. 

  • Look for low-fat varieties of yoghurt. 

  • You can substitute butter with extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil.

2. Red Meat 

  • Beef, pork, and lamb tend to be high in saturated fat. 

  • Meat cuts such as ribs, pork ribs, and grills contain the most fat. 

  • You do not have to avoid meat altogether; you must eat it occasionally. 

  • Limit your servings to the recommended 3 ounces and replace meat with lower saturated fat and cholesterol proteins, such as skinless chicken or turkey breast, fish, and beans. 

3. Processed Meat

  • Hot dogs, sausages, and bacon use the fattiest cuts of red meat, so they tend to be high in cholesterol and saturated fat. 

  • Sausages made from turkey or chicken may seem healthy and contain slightly less cholesterol than red meat, but they are not cholesterol-free.


Also Read: Chicken White Meat VS Dark Meat: Which Is Better? 

4. Fried Foods 

  • French fries, skin-on fried chicken, and other such deep fried foods are considered unhealthy as cooked in a fryer and contain high amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol which come from the oil they are cooked. 

  • Frying increases the energy density, or calorie count, of a food. 

  • The best choices include grilled chicken or turkey with the skin on, roasted potatoes, grilled tofu, and roasted vegetables with a dash of olive oil.

  • Use an air fryer if you want that low-fat "fried" taste.

5. Baked Goods And Desserts 

  • Cakes, cookies and desserts often contain butter or shortening, making them high in fat and cholesterol. 

  • They tend to be high in sugar, which can raise blood triglyceride levels, a blood disorder that can increase the risk of heart disease. 

  • Instead, make homemade desserts and choose recipes that do not call for oil or lots of butter. This also allows you to modify the recipe and reduce the sugar. 

  • You can enjoy baked rice for dessert or use applesauce instead of eggs or butter in baking.

6. Fast Food 

  • Eating fast food is a significant risk factor for many diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and obesity. 

  • People who eat junk food regularly have higher cholesterol, belly fat, pain, blood pressure, and poor blood sugar control.


These were our top picks for foods to avoid cholesterol


Also Read: Is Garlic Good For Cholesterol?

Healthier Alternatives: Foods To Eat With High Cholesterol

Some of the foods which are high in cholesterol and saturated fats but are considered as healthy because of their nutritional components are as follows:

Egg

  • One egg contains about 60% of your daily intake of cholesterol but only 8% of your daily intake of saturated fat. 

  • Eggs are high in protein and contain B vitamins, iron, and disease-fighting nutrients. 

  • If you need to monitor your cholesterol levels, eat egg whites, which are high in protein and have no cholesterol. 

Shellfish

  • Some types of shellfish contain more cholesterol than others. 

  • Shrimp is known to be high in cholesterol, with 3 ounces containing more than half the recommended daily amount, but it has virtually no saturated fat. 

  • Shellfish is a good protein, B vitamins, selenium, and zinc source. 

Lean Meat

  • Some lean meats are high in cholesterol but low in saturated fat. 

  • These include liver, kidneys, chicken, etc. 

  • Lean meats like chicken are considered the best option because they are high in protein and contain low-fat content. 

  • Lean meat is always a better choice than processed or red meats.

Unsaturated Fats

  • A cholesterol-lowering diet should contain a good amount of unsaturated fat. 

  • Studies say that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats in your diet can help in decreasing LDL cholesterol levels. 

  • Saturated fats can easily be replaced with unsaturated fats by choosing healthy cooking oils like olive oil, avocado oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil grapeseed oil and canola oil instead of cooking with lard, butter or margarine.

Omega-3 Foods

  • High quantities of omega-3s in the diet have been shown to lower triglyceride levels.

  • Omega-3s are considered essential fatty acids because your body cannot produce them. 

  • Therefore, you should get them from dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids like walnuts, flaxseed, fish, and almonds or supplements like fish oil. 

  • Omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fat with powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

Nuts And Oilseeds 


  • Nuts and oilseeds are plant proteins that are also a wonderful source of dietary fibre and plant sterols & stanols. 

  • Nuts and oilseeds are the best replacements for animal protein such as meats. 

  • When choosing nuts and seeds, always choose the ones rich in omega-3 fatty acids too, like walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds etc. 

Low-Fat Dairy Products

  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends you should choose skim or low-fat milk, cheese, and yoghurt over whole milk, full-fat cheese, and yoghurt to boost calcium while maintaining cholesterol levels. 

  • Good options include low-fat cottage cheese, mozzarella, and cheddar cheese. 

  • If you like full-fat dairy, you do not have to cut it out completely, but just be mindful of how much and how often you consume it. 

Also Read: Oats For Cholesterol And Its Benefits


Some of the foods that are not high in cholesterol but are nutritious and help reduce your cholesterol levels are as follows:


1. Beans And Legumes 

  • Beans are a plant-based protein (meaning they have no saturated fat) and a good source of fibre. It also contains plant sterols and stanols. 

  • You can make it easier to eat legumes by halving the meat in your meals and adding beans or lentils.

  • Cook beans without adding saturated fat, such as animal fat or lard. 


2. Whole Grains 

  • Whole grains are an excellent source of dietary fibre, so aim to eat half of your total grains as whole grains. 

  • Examples include quinoa, oatmeal, and whole-grain bread (whole wheat should be the first ingredient on the list). 

  • Fibre is found mainly in plant-based foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, and all legumes; dietary fibre is the indigestible part of the plant. 

  • While people mainly associate fibre with helping them stay regular, fibre (specifically soluble fibre) also helps to lower total cholesterol and LDL levels. 

  • One recent meta-analysis published in the Lancet found that amongst the combined 4,635 subjects, those with a higher dietary fibre intake had significantly lower total cholesterol. 

  • Foods higher in soluble fibre include strawberries, apples, pears, oranges, oatmeal, oat bran, beans, carrots, and Brussels sprouts. 


Also Read: 3 Delicious Kamut Flour Recipes And Its Health Benefits 


3. Avocados 

  • Avocados are a good source of nutrients and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs).

  • Research suggests that the fibre from avocados can improve HDL cholesterol levels and the quality of LDL cholesterol

  • Adding two servings of avocado per week to a heart-healthy diet can lower your risk of heart disease. People tend to think of avocados in guacamole, which often is eaten with high-fat corn chips. 

  • Add avocado slices to salads and sandwiches, or eat them as a side dish. 

  • Also, try guacamole with raw-cut vegetables, such as cucumber slices. 

  • Replacing saturated fats, such as those found in meats, with MUFAs makes the Mediterranean diet heart-healthy. 


4. Olive Oil 

  • Try using olive oil in place of other fats in your diet. 

  • You can fry vegetables in olive oil, add them to a marinade, or mix them with vinegar as a salad dressing. 

  • You can use olive oil instead of butter when grilling meat or as a bread sauce. 

  • Extra virgin olive oil also reduces the risk of heart attack.


Also Read: Olive Oil For Cooking: 5 Health Benefits

The Final Say

Remember, a healthy heart isn't built overnight. It's a journey paved with informed choices, delicious discoveries, and unwavering commitment. By swapping out cholesterol culprits for heart-loving heroes, you're investing in your vibrant future.

Not all cholesterol-rich foods are bad for your cholesterol levels. Some foods, such as eggs and full-fat yoghurt, are nutritious. While enjoying the healthy cholesterol-rich foods listed above is safe for most people, everyone should limit their consumption of unhealthy high-cholesterol foods, such as fried foods, food, desserts, and processed meat. 


Now that you know what foods to avoid with high cholesterol, you can make better dietary choices! For more information on nutrition, diet and health, check out our website, ToneOp

FAQs

1. What is the best fruit to lower cholesterol? 

Apples are a popular fruit that can benefit your health in many ways, including lowering high cholesterol levels. Because apples are rich in fibre, including soluble fibre, eating apples is a smart way to boost blood lipid levels and keep your heart healthy. 


2. Does garlic lower cholesterol? 

Yes, garlic consumption has been shown to reduce total LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Eating half to one garlic clove daily lowers cholesterol levels by about 10%. 


3. Can drinking hot water lower cholesterol? 

Drinking warm water may help with digestion and overall hydration, but there is no direct evidence that it can specifically lower cholesterol. Healthy lifestyle choices, including eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking, can help control cholesterol levels.


4. What are some bad foods for LDL cholesterol?

Some bad food for LDL cholesterol include takeaway foods, fatty meats, processed foods and coconut oil as they can increase the levels of dangerous LDL cholesterol in the body. 


References

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