Cholesterol is a waxy substance, which is present in different types within the body. Cholesterol is considered to be bad for your health but in actuality, some types of cholesterol are essential for your body, as they play a pivotal role in building cells, vitamins, and hormones synthesis in the body. There are three main types of cholesterol – High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol, Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Cholesterol is produced by your liver which gets transferred to the bloodstream. Another source of cholesterol is food such as animal products like meat, eggs, shellfish, and dairy products. High levels of HDL cholesterol will help manage LDL cholesterol by reducing its levels in the blood, however, when LDL cholesterol is high, then it can lead to plaque formation in the vascular passages, which potentiates the risk of heart attack or stroke.
It is necessary to manage the cholesterol levels in the body, otherwise, it can deteriorate your health and the quality of your life. You can prevent high cholesterol by avoiding or limiting the consumption of foods that introduce bad cholesterol to your body.
Foods that contain high-cholesterol
Processed meats are the biggest sources of cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides along with low levels of HDL cholesterol can lead to the formation of plaque in the blood vessels. The plaque accumulation can clog the vascular passages and prevent blood flow through them. This can increase the possibility of heart disease, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disorders, and stroke.
Besides, they also contain high amounts of sodium, which increases the levels of water in your bloodstream, thereby potentiating the risk of developing high blood pressure.
Foods that are deep-fried and contain too much oil can be extremely unhealthy. Such food is loaded with high amounts of cholesterol and saturated fats, which increases your health risk. Junk foods or foods that require excessive oils while preparing must be avoided, otherwise the fat can accumulate in your blood vessels, which can inhibit the blood flow.
When the blockage in the blood vessels happens due to plaque formation, the blood flow gets hindered. The heart is compelled to pump the blood with a greater force, which can lead to its damage. So, you must avoid fried foods and use minimal oil while preparing your meals. It is better to consume home-cooked meals. In that way, you can have greater control over your health due to the choice and amount of ingredients you use in the making of your food.
Full-fat dairy products
Whole milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, etc. contain high amounts of cholesterol which can clog the arteries and block blood flow. They are rich in LDL cholesterol, and saturated fats. Although they can contribute to health problems, they are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, calcium, and vitamin D.
You can switch to a healthy option by replacing whole-fat dairy products with low-fat dairy options. Instead of whole milk, you should prefer skimmed milk. When it comes to cheese, you can include low-fat cheese such as cottage cheese. Other products such as ice cream, yogurt, and butter also come with low-fat options. In that way, your body will get the supply of essential nutrients and you can also prevent the risk of high cholesterol.
Foods that are prepared in the bakery usually contain high amounts of butter, sugar, and refined flour which can raise the levels of LDL cholesterol in the body. Such foods cause clogging of the arteries due to the accumulation of plaque in the vascular passages, which blocks the flow of blood and makes the heart pump blood with tremendous force. The walls of the heart are quite delicate and can get damaged due to the exertion of high force for pumping blood throughout the body.
The yolk of an egg contains high levels of cholesterol in it. However, cholesterol in eggs does not cause any harm by raising the cholesterol in your body. According to a study conducted by Harvard Medical School, most of the cholesterol is made by the liver. Which does not utilize dietary cholesterol, instead, it prepares cholesterol from saturated fats and trans fats. So, eggs do not lead to a spike in cholesterol levels.
Shellfish is a category of fish that is loaded with high amounts of dietary cholesterol. The levels of cholesterol may vary among different types of shellfish. The cholesterol in shellfish is not harmful to your health, as it does not contain saturated fats. Besides, it is an excellent source of protein, vitamins, zinc, and several other minerals.
Foods that lower your cholesterol levels
- Whole grains – Millet, brown rice, barley, oats, whole-wheat flour, etc. can help lower LDL cholesterol levels and prevent heart damage.
- Nuts – Almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecan, macadamia, etc. can be beneficial for lowering LDL cholesterol.
- Fruits – Citrus fruits, apples, strawberries, grapes, etc. contain soluble fibers, which can lower LDL cholesterol.
- Vegetable oil – Sunflower oil, canola oils, and others can lower LDL levels.
- Beans – These are excellent sources of soluble fiber which reduces LDL cholesterol. Beans include lentils, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, etc.
- Soy products – Soyabeans, soy milk, etc. provide you with proteins and helps in lowering your LDL.