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  • Writer's pictureDr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam

High Cholesterol - What Foods to Eat and What Foods to Avoid?


Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in your blood and in some foods. Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. However, too much cholesterol can build up in your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.


There are two main types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is often called the “bad” cholesterol because it can clog your arteries and cause plaque to form. HDL is often called the “good” cholesterol because it helps remove excess cholesterol from your blood and protect your heart.


The amount of cholesterol in your blood is influenced by many factors, such as your genes, age, weight, physical activity, and diet. You can lower your cholesterol levels by making some lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, exercising regularly, losing weight if you are overweight, and eating a healthy diet.


What Foods Should You Eat to Lower Your Cholesterol?

A healthy diet for lowering your cholesterol should include plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, and fish. These foods are rich in fiber, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients that can help lower your LDL cholesterol and raise your HDL cholesterol.


Some examples of foods that are good for your cholesterol levels are:

  • Oatmeal: Oatmeal has soluble fiber, which reduces the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. One serving of oatmeal or oat bran can provide 3 to 4 grams of fiber. You can add fruits, such as bananas or berries, to increase the fiber content and add natural sweetness.

  • Fish: Fish has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower your triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood) and blood pressure. Omega-3 fatty acids also may prevent blood clots and reduce inflammation. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish per week. The best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, and tuna.

  • Nuts: Nuts are a good source of protein, healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants. They can improve your blood cholesterol levels by lowering your LDL cholesterol and raising your HDL cholesterol. Studies have shown that walnuts, which have omega-3 fats, may also protect your heart if you already have heart disease. However, nuts are high in calories, so limit your intake to a handful per day.

  • Avocados: Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which can lower your LDL cholesterol and improve the quality of your HDL cholesterol. They also contain fiber and antioxidants that can benefit your heart health. You can add avocado slices to salads and sandwiches or eat them as a snack.


What Foods Should You Avoid to Lower Your Cholesterol?

Some foods can raise your cholesterol levels by increasing your intake of saturated fat, trans fat, or dietary cholesterol. These foods can also increase inflammation and oxidative stress in your body, which can damage your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease.


Some examples of foods that are bad for your cholesterol levels are:

  • Red meat: Red meat, such as beef, pork, and lamb, is generally high in saturated fat. Saturated fat can raise your LDL cholesterol and lower your HDL cholesterol. Processed meats, such as sausage, bacon, ham, hot dogs, and salami, are even worse because they also contain sodium, nitrates, and other additives that can harm your heart. If you eat red meat, choose lean cuts and limit your portion size to 3 ounces or less per day.

  • Full-fat dairy: Full-fat dairy products, such as cream, whole milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, and ice cream, are also high in saturated fat. They can increase your LDL cholesterol and lower your HDL cholesterol. You can switch to low-fat or fat-free dairy products or use plant-based alternatives, such as soy milk or almond milk.

  • Baked goods and sweets: Baked goods and sweets, such as cakes, cookies, pies, pastries, doughnuts, muffins, and candy, are usually made with refined flour, sugar, and unhealthy fats, such as butter, shortening, or margarine. These ingredients can raise your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and lower your HDL cholesterol. They also provide empty calories that can lead to weight gain and diabetes. You can limit your intake of these foods or choose healthier options, such as fresh fruits, dark chocolate, or homemade treats made with whole grains and natural sweeteners.

  • Fried foods: Fried foods, such as french fries, chicken nuggets, onion rings, and potato chips, are high in calories, fat, and sodium. They can increase your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and lower your HDL cholesterol. They can also cause inflammation and oxidative stress in your body. You can avoid fried foods or use healthier cooking methods, such as baking, grilling, or steaming.


Summary

Cholesterol is a substance that is found in your blood and in some foods. Your body needs some cholesterol to function properly, but too much cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.


You can lower your cholesterol levels by eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, and fish. These foods can help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise your HDL (good) cholesterol.


You should also avoid foods that are high in saturated fat, trans fat, or dietary cholesterol, such as red meat, full-fat dairy, baked goods and sweets, and fried foods. These foods can raise your LDL cholesterol and lower your HDL cholesterol.


By following these dietary guidelines, you can improve your cholesterol levels and protect your heart health.


Dr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam, MD, FRCP (London), FACP (USA)

Internal Medicine Specialist


Kify Hospital

Danavaipeta

Rajahmundry

Phone : 85000 23456

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