Being the root cause of many lifestyle disorders, high cholesterol level is a result of poor food choices and sedentary lifestyle. High levels of cholesterol in blood increase the risk of heart diseases, diabetes and elevated blood pressure. Whether you have a family history of one of the diseases mentioned or have been diagnosed with high blood cholesterol level, it is time to pay close attention to what you eat.
Cholesterol is found only in animal foods. Apart from being high in cholesterol, these foods are also laden with other unhealthy fats like saturated fats (found in animal foods) and trans fats(found in baked and deep-fried foods). Scroll down to find a list of high-cholesterol foods that you must limit or completely avoid to lead a healthy life.
High Cholesterol Foods To Avoid
Egg whites are rich sources of protein but egg yolks are laden with cholesterol. If you are diagnosed with high blood cholesterol, it is prudent to stay away from egg yolks. The amount of cholesterol in the egg yolk is about 220 mg that may exceed the amount of cholesterol that is permissible for you in a day. Apart from the amount of cholesterol present in the yolks, addition of dairy products or butter along with the whole eggs makes them an unhealthy choice for breakfast. This does not mean you need to eliminate eggs from your diet. Use only egg whites or egg substitutes in recipes that call for whole eggs.
It may be a Herculean task to stay away from you favourite ice-cream but it is one of the high cholesterol foods you must avoid. Ice-cream is made from whole milk, sugar and other milk products that can raise your LDL (low-density lipoprotein) level. Obesity is one of the risk factors of high cholesterol level. Frozen desserts are loaded with calories that may promote weight gain. It is acceptable to indulge in ice-creams occasionally. It is, however, sensible to go for a bowl of frozen yoghurt or fresh fruits to satisfy your sweet cravings.
Cheese is high in calories and contains large amounts of saturated fatty acids that can prove detrimental to your health. Increased amount of sodium can raise the blood pressure which can in turn affect the heart. Therefore, certain varieties of cheese that contain large quantities of sodium can be harmful for your heart. Further, cheese is usually paired with foods like pizzas, nachos, crackers, burgers, etc. making them extremely unhealthy. However, you can substitute high-calorie cheese varieties with low-fat cheese available in the super markets. It is also wise to cut down the amount of cheese by half in your meal.
The amount of cholesterol in the processed meats depends on the type and cut used. Large amounts of sodium added to improve the shelf life of processed foods can prove dangerous to your heart. Additional fat added during processing of meats like hot dogs, sausages, bacon, bologna and salami also pose an increased risk.
One tablespoon of butter contains as much as 30 mg of cholesterol. Butter is an integral part of most of our meals. It is added in vegetables, breads, meats, pastries and cookies. You need not completely avoid butter from your daily meal. However, it is advisable to reduce the amount of butter used and substitute it with healthier alternatives like olive oil.
Meats such as bacon, ribs, and luncheon should be completely eliminated from your diet. These types of meats are rich in saturated fatty acids. A serving of luncheon meat in a sandwich may contain about 60 mg of cholesterol even after cooking with minimum quantity of healthy oil. If you cannot forgo meat, replace fatty meat with lean cuts of meat like tenderloin, rump or tip steak to reduce the intake of saturated fat.
The amount of cholesterol in shell fish varies widely according to its variety. Shrimp contains 179 mg of cholesterol per 3-ounce serving whereas scallops contain only 34mg of cholesterol per serving. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are healthy fats that are required by our body to maintain overall health. It is found that the proportions of PUFA are higher in shell fish. In fact, some shell fishes are also known to raise the level of HDL (high-density lipoprotein). The way the shell fish is prepared plays a major role in determining the total amount of fat consumed. The preferred method of food preparation like adding a large amount of butter to the shell fish serving can increase your blood cholesterol level. Deep frying the shell fish can also increase the intake of harmful fats like saturated fats and trans fats.
Laden with vital nutrients required by our body, liver is considered as one of the most nutritious foods available. However, it is one of the most important foods to avoid if you have high blood cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is synthesized and stored in liver in our body. Therefore, animal liver contains the largest amount of cholesterol.
Trans-fat not only increases the level of LDL in our body but is also known to reduce the HDL level making them more dangerous than other types of fat. Processed snacks contain a large amount of trans-fat that can be harmful to the body. Foods like muffin, cheese crackers, cookies, etc. are high in saturated fatty acids and sodium. These baked foods also contain large amounts of sugar. Excess carbohydrates that are not used by our body is converted into fats and prove extremely dangerous. While buying processed foods, it is advisable to check the food label for contents like trans fatty acids, saturated fats and sodium. It is also wise choose snacks made from whole wheat, wheat bran or oats to reduce your blood cholesterol level.
A plate of French fries or a cheese burger may prove more detrimental to your health than you think. Even lean meat can become a high cholesterol food when it is deep fried or batter fried. Commercially available fried foods contain trans fatty acids as they are usually fried in hydrogenated vegetable oils. The high salt content in fried foods can increase your blood pressure and affect your heart health.