Foods high in cholesterol: which ones to avoid?

The liver naturally creates cholesterol, which circulates throughout the body thanks to proteins present in the bloodstream. Cholesterol is an essential building block of cell membranes. In addition to its role in building cells, cholesterol is necessary for the production of hormones, vitamin D and substances that help digest fatty foods. However, a person’s lifestyle and genetics can cause the body to produce too much cholesterol. When cholesterol builds up in the arteries, it can block blood flow, which can lead to coronary heart disease, heart attack, or stroke. Following a nutritious and balanced diet is one way to help moderate cholesterol levels.

Here are the foods high in cholesterol and the dietary changes you can make to lower your cholesterol.

Cholesterol and fats

There are two types of cholesterol that differ based on the type of protein that carries them through the bloodstream. These are low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. LDL deposits a type of cholesterol throughout the body. This type of cholesterol can accumulate in the blood vessels and lead to serious complications. It is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol.

HDLs, on the other hand, collect LDL cholesterol from the arteries and bring it back to the liver for elimination. This is why HDL cholesterol is often referred to as the “good” cholesterol.

Types of fats

In general, one should strive to follow a diet that promotes low LDL cholesterol and high HDL cholesterol. However, fat consumption affects this balance because fatty acids bind to liver cells and regulate cholesterol production.

Attention should be paid not only to the overall amount of fat in the diet, but also to where it comes from:

– Saturated fats: They are mainly found in meat and dairy products. They encourage the liver to produce more LDL cholesterol.

– Unsaturated fats: These are most common in fish, plants, nuts, seeds, beans and vegetable oils. Certain unsaturated fats may help increase the rate at which the liver reabsorbs and breaks down LDL cholesterol.

– Trans fats: These are solid vegetable oils. Manufacturers normally use an artificial process called hydrogenation to produce them. Fried foods, baked goods, and packaged foods often contain trans fats.

trans fats

Trans fats increase LDL cholesterol levels and decrease HDL cholesterol levels. For this reason, a high intake of trans fats is also a risk factor for a range of health complications. A 2% increase in trans fat energy intake is associated with a 25% increase in the risk of coronary heart disease and a 31% increase in the risk of death from this disease.

Foods high in cholesterol to avoid

It is best to make sure to reduce the consumption of saturated fats to a maximum of 6% of the total daily caloric intake.

To do this, limit the consumption of the following foods to achieve this:

– fatty beef
– Lamb
– pork
– poultry with skin
– Dairy products made from whole milk or reduced fat
– saturated vegetable oils, such as coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil.

It is also important to avoid trans fatty acids. Foods high in trans fats include:

– packaged cookies, cakes, donuts and pastries
– the ships
– commercial fried foods
– products containing partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated vegetable oils.

cholesterol in food

Dietary cholesterol is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream and has little effect on cholesterol levels after several hours.

Try to avoid the following foods due to their saturated fat and sodium content:

– Red meat
– sausages
– Bacon
– offal, such as kidneys and liver.

Favorite foods

It is important to note that following a diet completely devoid of fat can have adverse effects. For example, excluding fat may harm child development and brain function, according to an older studyTrusted Source.

Choosing healthy fats can help a person lower their LDL cholesterol levels while managing their HDL cholesterol levels.

cholesterol

Fiber is important for a healthy heart and comes in two main forms: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is essential for digestive health. Soluble fiber binds to cholesterol in the blood and helps eliminate it through the stool. This type of fiber has the added benefit of helping to control blood sugar.

Here are some cholesterol-friendly fiber options to consider:

– nuts, seeds and legumes
– oats and oat bran
– chia and ground flax seeds
– beans
– barley
– psyllium
– oranges
– blueberries
– Brussels sprouts

Natural, non-tropical vegetable oils are also cholesterol-friendly due to their unsaturated fatty acid content. These oils include olive oil, avocado oil, canola oil, and safflower oil.

It can also help to choose leaner cuts of meat, opt for smaller portions, and choose low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt.

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