Low cholesterol foods are an important part of a healthy diet, especially for those with high LDL and low HDL levels. Hypercholesterolemia can lead to one or more forms of heart disease, which affects close to 87 million Americans.
Most people think that their cholesterol levels are directly related to the amount that they take in through their diet. Eating lower cholesterol foods will mean that you will have low cholesterol levels in your blood...right? Wrong!
Over 75% of your body's cholesterol is produced by your liver. The amount you take in from what you eat is only a small factor in influencing your body's total cholesterol level.
Nevertheless, you should certainly watch what you eat to help keep your levels down. However, you should not rule out fats and cholesterol all together; fats and cholesterol are necessary parts of the diet, removing them can be dangerous.
Remember, eating food that is high in cholesterol with not give you high cholesterol levels. It doesn't work like that. Only a portion of what you take it is even absorbed into your bloodstream. So don't get hung up on this.
But, since you are on this page, here is a list of foods that are known to be high in cholesterol:
1. Organ meats such as liver or kidney, and processed or fatty meats.(steaks, burgers, hot dogs, etc.)
2. Eggs (although their benefits far outweigh their drawbacks)
3. Fast food, snacks, muffins...anything with trans fat.
4. Shellfish like lobster, crab and shrimp.
5. Most cheeses, cream, and ice cream.
Just like there are foods that can potentially increase your cholesterol levels, there are foods that you can eat that actually do the opposite. Add these to your diet to help bring down LDL levels in your body:
1. Salmon and other fatty fish - packed with omega 3s, they can help lower LDL and triglyceride levels.
2. Nuts such as walnuts and almonds can help decrease cholesterol.
3. Green tea contains powerful antioxidants that can lower LDL and raise HDL.
4.Chocolate, especially the dark kind, has antioxidants that can raise good HDL levels.
5. Beans such as kidney, red or black contain fiber that can help slow cholesterol absorption into your bloodstream.
Adding garlic to whatever you cook and using healthy oils such as extra virgin olive, avocado or macadamia instead of processed varieties can also do wonders for your cholesterol.
If your doctor tells you you have high cholesterol, chances are it is not directly related to your diet. Unless of course you spend every day at McDonald's and you are extremely overweight.
It's more likely a genetic thing, meaning you probably have a family history of elevated cholesterol levels. However, just because your total is high does not mean you are a candidate for heart disease.
If your HDL is high, that will take care of most of the LDL. Also, there are other equally important factors to consider such as triglycerides, CRP, homocysteine and others. But those are for another articles.
Suffice it to say, if your cholesterol is high, it's not necessarily a cause for alarm. But you can reduce your intake of high cholesterol foods, and incorporate some of the LDL lowering ones we discuss in this article.
That, along with some lifestyle changes can put you on the path to better heart, and overall health.
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