Everyone knows high cholesterol levels are harmful, but few know how to manage them. Increased cholesterol buildup in your body can result in serious health complications.
Unfortunately, it is far from an uncommon condition, as evidenced by 94 million Americans who have high cholesterol. And the number will only increase if we don’t fix our eating habits.
Given the circumstances, taking the necessary steps to avoid or control high cholesterol is crucial. As expected, you must watch your diet – eliminating foods that only exacerbate your cholesterol levels.
Risks of High Cholesterol
Before reviewing cholesterol-boosting foods, let’s consider the seriousness of this problem. For starters, cholesterol in and of itself is not a bad thing. Your body needs it to function. Cholesterol forms a thin outer layer around blood cells, helping them travel in your veins.
However, too much of it is bad because it accumulates along the walls of your arteries and heart. This has the opposite effect – blood flow becomes constricted, leading to severe cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks. High cholesterol can also have other corollary health effects, such as chest pain, high blood pressure, and erectile dysfunction.
Consequently, it is best to try avoiding cholesterol buildup by adopting a healthy diet. This will not only improve your overall health but also ensure your longevity. Furthermore, if you already have high cholesterol levels, you need to act quickly and control the situation by changing your eating patterns.
Manage High Cholesterol With These Foods
High cholesterol should not be taken lightly. Now is the time to act and alter the nutrients you put in your body. To that end, look at some foods you should avoid to manage high cholesterol or even prevent it altogether.
1. Red Meat
When discussing eating healthy to manage high cholesterol, the obvious place to start is your meat consumption. Beef, lamb, and pork may be delicious but infamously high in cholesterol. Specific dishes like hamburger patties, ribs, and pork chops are among the worst contributors to cholesterol levels.
Now, this does not mean you need to avoid red meats altogether. Instead, it is time to learn to eat them in moderation. Consider getting leaner cuts with a lower fat concentration, such as sirloin and filet mignon. Conversely, you could avoid red meats altogether and choose low-fat proteins like fish and skinless chicken.
2. Fried Foods
Fried foods are another obvious item you must remove from your life if you want to effectively manage your cholesterol levels. The frying process increases cholesterol in foods like french fries, mozzarella sticks, and chicken wings. If you still wish to eat foods with a bit of crunch, consider investing in an air fryer.
3. Full-Fat Dairy Products
Many people do not realize how full-fat dairy products are one of the leading contributors to high cholesterol levels – including cream, whole milk, and butter. High-fat dairy is for feeding young calves, helping them ingest the protein and fat levels needed to grow into full-fledged cattle.
As such, these dairy products are only suitable for infants’s consumption since they need extra protein for their growing bodies. They also tend to have a lot of saturated fats, which are especially bad for managing high cholesterol. Your best option would be switching to low-fat dairy and going vegan with soy or nut milk-based items.
4. Baked Goods
As much as you might love munching on cakes, pastries, cookies, croissants, and other baked goods, learn to eat them less frequently to manage your high cholesterol. These items have high concentrations of shortening and butter, which can exacerbate your cholesterol levels.
Besides reducing your consumption of these delicacies, you could also choose dessert alternatives. Consider baking with bananas or applesauce instead of butter. You can opt for fruits as dessert and take advantage of the numerous nutritional benefits they offer with none of the harm of baked items.
5. Processed Meats
Processed meats, like sausage and bacon, are manufactured using the fattiest of meats. Consequently, they are higher in their cholesterol count, too.
Try to eliminate them from your diet altogether. Bacon prepared using turkey or chicken is a healthier alternative, though you should consume them in moderation, too, given that they are also considerably fatty.
With vigilant management of these five food types, you can keep your cholesterol levels in check. And the sooner you start to do so, the better your health will be in the long run. So, do not delay any longer; make the switch as soon as possible.
If you need assistance managing your diet, visit Imperial Center Family Medicine’s weight management specialists for further insight into how to lower your cholesterol levels. Call today to schedule an appointment.