More than 102 million American adults have cholesterol levels at or above 200 mg/dl, which is considered unhealthy.
Approximately 35 million of these people have levels of 240 mg/dl or higher, putting them at risk for heart disease.
Some cholesterol is necessary for your body to thrive. However, if your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad cholesterol” is too high, you can develop serious health issues, most notably heart problems and diabetes.
Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a condition caused by a gene mutation. It is characterized by higher than normal levels of LDL cholesterol. This condition causes up to 10 percent of early-onset coronary artery disease, which occurs before the age of 55 years. FH affects approximately 1 in 500 people and. It often goes undiagnosed. Obviously, this condition is not diet-related.
However, diet is one of the many causes of high cholesterol.
The best way to either lower your cholesterol or ensure that you don’t develop high cholesterol as a result of your cholesterol intake is to watch your diet. Certain high cholesterol foods are both nutritious and beneficial to your health. However, there are many unhealthy high cholesterol foods to avoid or reduce in your diet if you’re looking to prevent high cholesterol problems.
Here are some high cholesterol foods to avoid:
1. Fried foods
Fried foods like breaded meat, french fries, and cheese sticks are not only high in calories but loaded with unhealthy trans fats and high in bad cholesterol. High consumption of fried foods often leads to obesity, diabetes, and an increased risk of heart disease as a result of the high cholesterol and trans fat content.
2. Processed meats
If you have high cholesterol, try to avoid processed meats like hot dogs, sausage, and bacon. Even if you don’t have high cholesterol, eating lots of processed meats might lead to certain cancers like colon cancer.
3. High sugar content food/drink
High calorie, sugary desserts like cookies, cakes, pie, packaged snacks, donuts, ice cream and pastries tend to be high in cholesterol. These types of high sugar desserts are primarily lacking in beneficial nutrients. Frequently eating them will not only increase your bad cholesterol level, but can also cause unhealthy weight gain. This leads to other health complications and increase your risk for heart disease and diabetes. Occasionally having a slice of cake or a cookie is okay. Just don’t eat them every day. You should also eliminate soda and juices that have a high sugar content from your diet.
4. Full-fat dairy products
Try to avoid dairy products that have unhealthy full-fat. If you are watching your cholesterol levels, consume low-fat dairy products like fat-free milk, cheese, and yogurt.
5. Fast Food
Last but certainly not least, if you want to lower your LDL cholesterol, you should avoid or limit eating typical unhealthy high cholesterol fast food.
Those who frequently eat fast food not only increase their bad cholesterol and risk for heart disease but also have higher levels of inflammation, belly fat (obesity risk), and impaired blood sugar levels (diabetes risk). Due to pressure from consumers for healthier options, many fast-food chains are now offering some low cholesterol choices such as salads, grilled meat choices, and fresh fruit.
If you eliminate high cholesterol foods for 30 days, you should see reduced harmful cholesterol levels, inflammation, and bloating.
If you substitute a heart-healthy diet which is primarily composed of whole grains, omega-3 fatty fish, nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables, and plenty of water, you should feel healthier. For people who are serious about being healthier, adjusting their diet should hopefully be a lifestyle change they embrace.
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