- Bad fats (trans-fats, hydrogenated fat, or partially hydrogenated fat)
- Simple carbohydrates (these get broken down into sugar, resulting in a spike of blood sugar levels and bad cholesterol)
Examples of foods to avoid with high cholesterol include:
- Fried foods: Chicken nuggets, French fries
- Frozen foods: Frozen hot dogs, sausages, pizza, waffles
- Hydrogenated oils: Potato chips, cookies, donuts, crackers, margarine, vegetable shortening
- Saturated fats: Coconut cream, deep-fried foods, cakes, biscuits, pies, pastries, egg yolk, whole milk, butter, and cheese
- High-fat proteins: Duck, goose, steak
- Organ meat: Kidney, heart, liver
- Shellfish: Oysters, mussels, crab, and lobster
- Refined carbs: White bread, pasta, rice
- Sugar: Soda, fruit juices, cakes, donuts, pastries
- Alcohol: Reduce alcohol intake to no more than 1-2 drinks per day or don't drink at all. Even one drink can increase triglycerides for some people.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that your body needs to build healthy cells. But there are several different types:
- Total cholesterol: Total amount of cholesterol in the blood, which includes low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
- LDL (bad) cholesterol: Transports cholesterol particles throughout the body and can build up in the walls of the arteries, making them hard and narrow.
- HDL (good) cholesterol: Picks up excess cholesterol in your blood and takes it back to your liver.
- Non-HDL: Total cholesterol minus HDL. Non-HDL includes LDL and other types of cholesterol such as VLDL.
- Triglycerides: Another form of fat in the blood that can increase your risk of heart disease, especially in women.
Too much of bad (LDL) cholesterol or not enough of good (HDL) cholesterol increases the risk of cholesterol buildup o in the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain.
What causes high cholesterol?
Apart from an unhealthy diet, causes of high cholesterol may include:
- Heredity: Cholesterol or heart disease may run in the family.
- Comorbid diseases: Conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, and thyroid disease can increase your risk of having high cholesterol.
- Smoking: Cigarette smoking damages the walls of your blood vessels, making them more prone to accumulating fatty deposits. Smoking can also lower your level of HDL or good cholesterol.
- Age: Liver function may reduce with age and become less able to remove LDL or bad cholesterol.
- Obesity: Having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher puts you at a risk of high cholesterol.
- Lack of exercise: Lack of physical activity and exercise can increase bad cholesterol deposits in the arteries.
What foods can lower cholesterol levels?
To lower your cholesterol, try building meals and snacks around whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible. Here are examples of what to include in your diet:
- Whole grains: Oats, barley, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, farro
- High-fiber, nutrient-dense vegetables: Leafy greens, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, zucchini, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes
- High-fiber, antioxidant-rich fruits: Berries, citrus fruits, bananas, apples, pears, peaches, melon
- Fatty fish: Salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, anchovies
- Lean protein: Chicken, turkey, beans, nuts, lentils, tofu, edamame
- Dairy: Yogurt, kefir, milk, (occasionally) cheese
- Anti-inflammatory spices: Ginger, garlic, turmeric, basil
Latest Cholesterol News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Cholesterol Content of Foods: https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/cholesterol-content-of-foods
Feeding your heart: Foods to help lower cholesterol: https://shine365.marshfieldclinic.org/heart-care/foods-to-help-lower-cholesterol/
Top What Are the Worst Foods for High Cholesterol Related Articles
Cholesterol Levels: What's Normal and How to Lower High CholesterolWhat do cholesterol numbers mean? LDL, HDL, good, bad, and triglycerides - Get the facts on cholesterol, blood testing, medications, and how to keep your cholesterol in check.
Cholesterol (Lowering Your Cholesterol)High cholesterol and triglyceride levels increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Getting your cholesterol and triglyceride levels in an optimal range will help protect your heart and blood vessels. Cholesterol management may include lifestyle interventions (diet and exercise) as well as medications to get your total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides in an optimal range.
Cholesterol PictureCholesterol carried in particles of low density (LDL cholesterol) is referred to as the "bad" cholesterol because elevated levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. See a picture of Cholesterol and learn more about the health topic.
Cholesterol TestA cholesterol blood test measures the amount of cholesterol in the body. There are two types of cholesterol; the "good" cholesterol or HDL, and the "bad" cholesterol or LDL. High cholesterol levels in the blood can lead to heart attack, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. Learn more about cholesterol tests and how to interpret them.
HDL vs. LDL Cholesterol (Good and Bad)HDL (high-density lipoprotein), or the "good" cholesterol, and LDL (low-density lipoprotein), or the "bad" cholesterol, are lipoproteins that carry cholesterol through the veins and arteries of the body. HDL and LDL combined, is your "total" blood cholesterol. The difference between the two are that high levels of the "good," or HDL cholesterol, may protect against narrowing of the blood vessels in the body, which protects you against heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. But high levels of LDL, or the "bad" cholesterol, may worsen the narrowing of the blood vessels in the body, which puts you at a greater risk of stroke, heart attack, and cardiovascular diseases, some of which are life threatening.Triglycerides are found in body fat and from the fats you eat.
Cholesterol QuizHigh cholesterol can be a dangerous condition. Take the Cholesterol Quiz to understand what high cholesterol means in terms of your health risks.
High Triglycerides FoodsHigh triglycerides increase the risk of heart disease. Lower triglyceride levels and reduce cholesterol by eating foods that promote heart health. Reduce your intake of fat and sugar and do not eat excess calories. Get adequate nutrition by eating fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats.
How Dangerous Is High Cholesterol?Cholesterol is an important molecule that serves many vital functions in the body. High cholesterol is dangerous because it may lead to atherosclerosis, which can result in conditions such as angina, heart attack, stroke and hypertension.
Lower Cholesterol Levels with Diet and MedicationsHigh-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is considered "good" cholesterol because it actually works to keep the LDL or "bad" cholesterol from building up in your arteries. Foods like extra lean meats, skim milk, and vegetable-based "butter-like" substitutes may help decrease LDL levels in the bloodstream.
Lower Cholesterol TipsNeed to lower your cholesterol levels? Use these smart diet tips to quickly and easily lower your blood cholesterol levels. Choose heart-healthy foods to lower cholesterol and improve your heart health.
What Are the Normal Cholesterol Levels By Age?Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in all the cells of the body. It is a type of fat that is produced by the liver. Cholesterol also comes from animal-derived foods, such as meat and dairy products. It is an essential substance needed by the body for various purposes. Too much cholesterol, however, harms the body and increases the risk of various medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart diseases.
What Is the Normal Range for Cholesterol Levels?What is the normal range for cholesterol levels? Learn what cholesterol levels are, why cholesterol levels change, how doctors diagnose cholesterol levels, and what you can do to treat high cholesterol levels.