Want to lower your cholesterol levels? Don’t eat these foods!
If you suffer from high cholesterol, you’d probably have heard people pointing out what you should and shouldn’t eat. Besides regular exercise, watching your diet also makes a huge difference when it comes to managing your cholesterol levels. According to the Health Promotion Board, eating foods that are high in saturated and trans fat will raise your cholesterol levels. Left unchecked, excess cholesterol gets deposited in the walls of your blood vessels and can eventually lead to conditions like stroke and heart disease.
Keep your heart healthy and happy by avoiding these foods if you have high cholesterol. (Psst, these are the foods you should be eating if you want to lower your cholesterol levels naturally.)
1. Baked goods
Can’t get enough of cookies, muffins and cakes? Bad news: while they’re definitely delicious, these sweet treats are often high in sugar, refined carbs and trans fat – all of which can cause your cholesterol and triglyceride levels to shoot up.
2. Processed meat
Time to say goodbye to nuggets, sausages and bacon. In a study from the Harvard School of Public Health, researchers found that eating processed meats was associated with a 42 per cent higher risk of heart disease and a 19 per cent higher risk of type 2 diabetes. After going through the preservation process, these meats often end up high in sugar, salt and trans fat while being low in nutrients.
3. Fatty meat
You don’t have to cut out meat completely, but it’s important to choose the right cuts of meat if you want to control your cholesterol levels. In general, red meat and organ meat (liver, stomach, intestines etc.) contain more cholesterol than leaner cuts like chicken breast or pork and beef tenderloin. That said, if you already have a history of high cholesterol, it’s a good idea to start getting your protein intake from heart-healthy fatty fish like salmon and mackerel at least twice a week instead.
Even though many alcoholic drinks are actually cholesterol-free, excessive drinking can still lead to an increase in your body’s triglyceride levels since alcohol is high in sugar and calories. Limit your alcohol intake to no more than two standard drinks a day. It’s also worth noting that your best choice of booze is red wine since it contains natural, antioxidant-rich resveratrol.
5. Full-fat dairy products
Dairy products are an excellent source of calcium, but full-fat milk, cream and cheese can also contain high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol. Opt for skimmed milk or soy milk instead to cut your daily fat and cholesterol intake.
6. Ice cream
Ice cream is made from full-fat dairy and has a high saturated fat content. According to data from the USDA, a single serving of ice cream already contains about 22 per cent of your maximum daily recommended intake of saturated fat and about 9 per cent of your maximum daily recommended cholesterol. Make ice cream only an occasional indulgence – your body and waistline will thank you for it.
7. Junk food
Do you have a snack habit every time the clock strikes 3pm? Replace your potato chips and fried crackers with healthier options like baked, unsalted nuts instead. Ultra-processed foods like packaged chips are laden with salt and saturated fat that can cause your bad cholesterol levels to climb.