You are probably aware of foods that raise cholesterol. But between all of the confusion about “good” cholesterol, “bad” cholesterol and blatant misinformation in the world regarding good nutrition, managing cholesterol can be daunting, to say the least. Here, we have created an article to help you make sense of it all and make good choices.
Foods That Raise Cholesterol
Good vs. bad cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is necessary to proper functioning of your body. In fact, your body even makes cholesterol naturally (particularly in the liver) to circulate through your blood. However, unhealthy levels of cholesterol can cause myriad issues. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol is what is referred to as the “bad” cholesterol because of its propensity to build up in arteries and cause blockages.
On the other hand, high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol is known as the “good” cholesterol because it carries cholesterol from the rest of the body back to the liver. In addition to the cholesterol that your body makes naturally, it is also ingested in the foods that we eat, making diet one of the primary influences on your cholesterol levels that you can control.
What can raise your cholesterol?
While diet is one of the most prominent factors impacting cholesterol levels, other things can raise your cholesterol as well. In addition to for following the good cholesterol foods list that we will go through in the rest of this post, be sure to get plenty of exercise and physical activity to protect against increased cholesterol. You should also be aware that factors like genetics, age and gender can also play a role in your cholesterol levels. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your cholesterol, especially if you have a family history of cardiac disease, heart attacks or strokes. Going through your family history thoroughly with your doctor will also enable him or her to pick out any other red flags that might warrant more diligence on the cholesterol front.
How do I lower my cholesterol naturally?
Statins are the classification of drugs most frequently prescribed to help manage cholesterol levels in patients and reduce risks of stroke or heart attack. They work by keeping the liver from creating excess cholesterol.
And most patients tolerate the medication very well. However, with potential side effects including headaches, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, drowsiness, nausea or vomiting, abdominal pain, bloating or gas, constipation, diarrhea and skin rashes, it is little wonder that some folks are eager to find natural remedies to manage cholesterol. Alternatively, some people may be looking to augment their prescription treatment or may not have problematic cholesterol levels yet and are looking to be proactive.
Whatever the case, in addition to exercise, moderate alcohol intake and quit smoking (if you are a smoker). Additionally, you will want to avoid foods that raise cholesterol, be aware of and eat more foods low in cholesterol, and try to consume more sources of good cholesterol. For example, walnuts contain lots of polyunsaturated fat—it’s a “good” fat, in moderation—which raises good cholesterol.
What foods are high in cholesterol?
So, which are the foods that raise cholesterol you need to be avoiding? Foods that are rich in trans fats and saturated fats are problematic. Things like butter, bacon drippings, palm oil, and lard are high in saturated fats. Additionally, trans fats are found in potato chips, shortenings, and hard margarine.
Limits your intake of exceptionally fatty meats like pastrami, corned beef, and (sorry) bacon. Processed meats like hot dogs and bologna are also among the foods that raise cholesterol. Think about limiting your meat intake altogether and, when you do eat meat, opt for lean cuts and white meats like chicken and turkey instead.
How do you raise your good cholesterol?
Now that we have tackled which foods you should be avoiding, let’s talk about which foods you should eat more of to increase your “good” HDL cholesterol. Contrary to what many people think, the key is not cutting out fat altogether. Instead, you must be more conscious of the type of fat that you are consuming. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats will increase your HDL and are found in foods like fish, nuts (as mentioned earlier), flax and avocados.
What foods to eat to lower cholesterol?
If you are looking to reduce your levels of LDL cholesterol, you will want to find foods low in cholesterol and try to add foods that are good sources of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber reduces the amount of LDL cholesterol that the body absorbs. If your goal is lowering cholesterol, eat foods like apples, barley, pears, prunes and kidney beans.
As always, consult with a licensed medical professional before undertaking any drastic dietary changes. And remember to speak with your doctor about your cholesterol levels, your family history and your strategy for maintaining good cholesterol levels and heart health.