The One Food You Need To Stop Eating If You Have High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a substance found in your blood that is necessary for building healthy cells. However, when too much of the waxy substance accumulates in your blood, it can cause a number of negative effects spurred on by the blood’s inability to pass through your veins efficiently, known as high cholesterol. High cholesterol puts you at risk of a number of serious health problems, including heart attacks and strokes.
Oftentimes high cholesterol is caused by, or at least made worse, by lifestyle aspects, specifically diet, exercise, and smoking. With that being said, genetics and some medications can make you more susceptible, especially medications for acne, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and HIV/AIDS. Regardless of the cause, refining your lifestyle can help in managing your symptoms or acting as a preventative measure, especially if it runs in your family. Food is one of the biggest lifestyle players in heart-related illness, so knowing which foods are higher in cholesterol is essential in creating a heart healthy diet.
When it comes to foods you should avoid, there aren’t necessarily specific foods you should avoid altogether. You should instead focus on ingredients—one to avoid in particular is saturated fat. “Food that is rich in saturated fat increases total cholesterol, LDL, and lipoprotein (Lp)a.” Says Dr. Raed Bargout, a cardiologist at Dignity Health-Glendale Memorial Hospital in Glendale, California. Foods that are typically high in saturated fats are certain butters, fatty cuts of meat like bacon, processed cheese, and cured meats.
Meat is one you should be particularly careful with—while meat is a great source of protein and a nutritious foundation to any meal, some meats are higher in saturated fat than others. Fresh meat that you prepare yourself is generally safe, but it starts to get tricky when its highly processed. One of the worst may even be sitting in your fridge right now. “Processed deli meat is on the top of the list for food that can increase the risk of cardiovascular events including heart attacks and stroke.” Dr. Bargout says. While deli meat is a time saving option for lunches on the go, it’s better to use fresh chicken or turkey you’ve cooked yourself when possible. Besides deli meat, pork is another meat that you should cut back on. “Pork is loaded with saturated fat—leading to cardiovascular problems, high cholesterol, weight gain and more.” Caitlin Policastro, a nurse practitioner at the New York Center for Innovative Medicine.
Whether you suffer from high cholesterol or at risk of it in the future, a healthy diet is a long term investment in your wellbeing that has the potential to both alleviate your symptoms or prevent them altogether. With that being said, a healthy diet is all about balance. While some hold more nutritional value than others, it’s all about moderation. Having knowledge about the foods you’re eating, and knowing what foods you enjoy that make you feel your best, is the best approach to a fulfilling diet and overall lifestyle.