When you are young, it doesn’t seem like you have to worry about healthy foods at all and you can enjoy almost anything you like. But as you grow older and your body begins to catch up to certain eating habits, you can find yourself faced with problems such as weight gain or high cholesterol levels. There is nothing fun about finding out that you have elevated cholesterol levels and it can inspire a bit of panic from some people. The most important thing to remember is that finding out you have elevated cholesterol levels is actually a good thing because now you can take the steps necessary to solve the problem. It might also be just the thing to inspire you towards a healthier diet that will allow you to still enjoy some of your favorite foods. The key is to educate yourself on various foods high in cholesterol in addition to incorporating as many foods that lower cholesterol into your regular diet.
High Cholesterol Foods to Avoid
Fatty meats – meat gets a pretty bad rap these days as being unhealthy for your overall diet. And of course there will always be vegetarians who tell you not to eat meat for a variety of reasons. Meat isn’t something that you have to look to eliminate completely in your daily menu, but moderation and healthy choices are the key. When it comes to cholesterol levels you need to be careful about consuming various types of meat with high-fat content. Also keep in mind that most meat dishes are served with various sides they can be high in cholesterol themselves. For example, everybody loves a nice juicy roast from time to time but think about what goes into the gravy. Most people use fat drippings from the roast which in itself is pure fat and oil.
Chicken skin – chicken is often recommended as an alternative to eating red meat. It is the perfect choice for lean type of meat that also absorbs a variety of different flavors. But of course there is the tempting problem of chicken skin which is obviously delicious and the favorite part of eating chicken for many people. Just remember that you are increasing your caloric intake in addition to fat and cholesterol levels if you eat too much chicken skin.
Organ meats – this usually isn’t a problem for most people since they don’t eat a lot of organ meats anyways. It can actually be a good source of other things like iron and protein if you prepare them properly. But if you are experiencing high cholesterol levels then you should not tempt fate by eating organ meats too often.
Egg yolks – there is the popular image of athletes who train for important events while gulping down cups full of whole eggs. Whether or not this is an effective training technique is debatable, but it’s clear that it’s a fast way to high cholesterol levels. Egg whites on the other hand are something you can enjoy without having to worry, and there are many creative ways you can use them in a variety of recipes.
Saturated fats – there’s a lot of terms floating around these days such as saturated fats, trans fats, and LDL cholesterol. But let’s keep things simple and work with terms that people are familiar with. When it comes to saturated fats anything that is oily or greasy is going to fall into that category. Things like butter may taste great but you probably already know that you shouldn’t eat too much of it on a regular basis. Trans fats are a key component to processed snack foods such as chips and cookies and should be avoided as well.
Desserts – there’s nothing like a nice rich cake topped with icing to finish off a meal. Fortunately, a lot of the desserts we enjoy today are extremely high cholesterol and you need to be careful about consuming them to regularly. They also contain high amounts of sugar and one serving of a popular dessert might be more sugar than you need for a couple of days.
Dairy products – milk still does a body good but you should be fully aware of what type you are putting into your body. Homogenized milk is not something you should be drinking on a regular basis and you should aim towards products such as skim milk or one percent. Butter has already been mentioned and this is considered a dairy product, as is cheese and ice cream. Sour cream is an extremely popular topping for baked potatoes but unfortunately, it is also considered one of the high cholesterol foods to avoid in your daily diet.
It’s also essential to take a look at the cooking methods you use to prepare certain foods. Some methods are more conducive to high cholesterol than others because of the various components involved in the process. For example, it shouldn’t come as a major shock that deep frying is not great for your cholesterol levels no matter how healthy of an ingredient you actually drop into the fryer. Whenever possible, using methods like poaching or steaming can help to lower cholesterol levels simply because you aren’t using as much hydrogenated cooking oil.
Here is a list of common high cholesterol foods to avoid. You may recognize some of them as regular parts of your diet. Again, no one is telling you to eliminate all of these things completely – just be smart about how often you enjoy them and take the time to balance out your diet with foods that lower cholesterol as well.
- Burger and fries
- pork chops and gravy
- Grilled steak and a baked potato with all the toppings
- Fried chicken
- Chocolate cake
- Potato chips
- Ice cream
So now you have a better idea of what you should be avoided in your daily diet. What types of substitutions can you make? The key is to find things that you actually enjoy eating because no one is going to be able to stick with a low cholesterol diet if they don’t like it in the first place. Rather than going for short bursts at a time where you deprive yourself of certain types of food, it’s far better to come up with a comprehensive approach that will eventually evolve into new healthy eating habits. Learning how to cook is going to come in extremely handy in determining what types of food you eat on a daily basis. The good news is there are a variety of ways you can prepare foods that lower cholesterol that won’t sacrifice taste or your overall enjoyment.
Foods that lower cholesterol
Oatmeal – many people skip breakfast for a variety of reasons and this is never recommended if you want to maintain a healthy diet. Sometimes convenience is a factor and other times people want to keep their calorie count in check by skipping the first meal of the day. But in the end, it’s important to start your day off with the boost of energy that will also help to curb your hunger as you approach night time. Oatmeal is the perfect breakfast food that you can also combine with a selection of fruits to give you the perfect start to your day.
Olive Oil – olive oil adds a distinct taste to any dish that you added to and it has many health benefits as well. It’s considered one of the best foods that lower cholesterol even though it is technically a type of oil. But it can be drizzled on anything ranging from salad to pasta, and offers a wonderful alternative to any other type of oil in your kitchen cabinet.
Garlic – in addition to having antibacterial properties garlic is well known to be something that can help with cholesterol levels. But even putting the health benefits aside, there are so many dishes that are made even better with the addition of garlic. It can be just a touch you need to keep yourself interested in some foods that you have grown bored of eating.
Berries – fruits like blueberries are excellent for helping you to lower cholesterol and they are handy snack that comes in a natural package. Rather than reaching for a bowl full of candy or potato chips, you can feel good about eating blueberries or raspberries without compromising your health. Just be aware that they are somewhat notorious for having teeth-staining properties.
Broccoli – broccoli is an excellent source of nutrition and there are many ways to boost the taste level when preparing it. It’s probably not the most popular vegetable out there but in terms of health, it really can’t be beat.
Fish and salmon – salmon is actually high in the good type of cholesterol that you should be looking for on a regular basis. Best of all there are many brilliant recipes that bring salmon to life and it is very easy to prepare if you know what you’re doing. It can be grilled, poached, baked, or even eaten raw if you are a fan of sushi. The Omega three fatty acids lower the bad type of cholesterol in addition to having beneficial effects for your skin as well.
Nuts – almonds, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts – all are good choices that make great snacks and they have antioxidant properties as well. Just make sure to eat them in its natural form as possible without a lot of added salt.
Soy products – with a bit of creativity you can incorporate soy products into various dishes to add an interesting taste and texture. There are many dishes that come from other cultures that utilize soy to perfection, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
Yogurt with probiotics – this is a delicious dessert alternative that you can have instead of eating a cholesterol filled cake. It’s also good instead of ice cream or as a simple snack to keep yourself going in the middle of the day. You can also combine it with fruits to improve the nutritional value.