List of Foods High in Cholesterol That Raise Your LDL Levels
HDL cholesterol is what is commonly referred to as good cholesterol. Unlike HDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), HDL is vital to the healthy growth and development of cells in a person’s body.
People who suffer from high LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol will be prone to a number of different diseases and conditions including obesity, diabetes and coronary conditions.
Although there can be a variety of reasons why a person suffers from high cholesterol, the most common culprit is foods high in cholesterol. That is, individuals eat the wrong type of food, which in turn increases their cholesterol level.
So, how do you know what foods you can and can’t eat if you are trying to maintain your cholesterol level?
List of Popular Foods High in Cholesterol
It doesn’t take a doctor to tell you that you shouldn’t be eating fried chicken and fries every day if you are trying to maintain a healthy cholesterol level or even watching your weight in general.
But what other foods high in cholesterol should you be at least reducing in your every day diet?
- Animal products – Many of the different foods that come from animals, such as diary products and meat, are high in saturated and trans fats. Take away food in general, such as fried chicken and beef burgers, are particularly high in trans fats and should be avoided if you are trying to reduce your cholesterol level. According to Pittsburgh University, the trans fats found in many fast foods are among the most harmful, as they negatively affect a person’s HDL levels.
- Eggs – Once thought to be completely off limits, eggs are now acceptable for people who are watching their cholesterol levels. Eggs do contain large amounts of cholesterol, around two-thirds of the average adults recommended daily allowance, however the benefits from the protein eggs provide far outweigh the risk.
- Ice Cream – Unbelievably, one cup of this frozen dessert classic contains more fat than a hamburger and fries meal. Therefore, individuals who are wanting to reduce their cholesterol level should avoid eating ice cream altogether.
- Steak – Even the finest, leanest pieces of steak will still take up a large amount of a person’s recommended daily allowance of cholesterol. The average piece of rib eye steak contains around 25-percent of your daily cholesterol allowance, which does not leave much room for your other meals of the day.
- Cakes – Of all the foods high in cholesterol, cakes are probably the worse to have in your diet. This is because not only are they high in trans fats, they also contain almost double the amount of saturated fat found in fried chicken. Baked goods in general, in particular shop bought items, are high in cholesterol and best avoided if you want to maintain an acceptable cholesterol level.
- Seafood – Long touted as being good for individuals following a low fat diet, this has been proven as not being strictly true. This is because while some seafood has average cholesterol levels, lobster has a staggering 61 grams of cholesterol and this does not include any potential dressing or butter the lobster may have.
- Alcohol – While it may not be full of fat, alcohol is full of sugar which can have just as negative an effect on cholesterol as fat. The risk from alcohol varies depending on the type of drink – although cider is best considered avoided by people who are trying to lower their cholesterol.
If you like to get information in a more auditory and visual manner, take a look at this video where you’ll get to see which kids of high cholesterol foods to avoid. The key is which kids of fats the foods contain – and here you’ll want to stay clear of saturated fats and trans fats. It’s all nicely explained in the 4 minutes video below.
Low Cholesterol Foods
According to a recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average adult should not eat more than 300 MG of cholesterol daily.
The Centers also go on to recommend what sort of food a person should consider eating while following a low calorie diet.
- Lean meat – Although meat tends to be one of the obvious foods high in cholesterol, not all meats are bad for you. Individuals following a low cholesterol diet should aim to consume around 8 ounces of lean meat and no more a day, suggests the Mountain States Health Alliance. Skinless chicken breasts, beef tenderloins and leg of lamb tend to be the best meats for a low cholesterol diet.
- Fruit and Vegetables – There are not really any fruits or vegetables that contain cholesterol. However, it is advised you stick to fresh fruit and vegetables as oppose to canned as these can be high in sugar and salt.
- Crackers – Low fat crackers make ideal snack food for when you are feeing hungry but it isn’t quite time for your next meal. Crackers with a sesame seed topping are even better, as the seeds are known to increase HDL levels.
It is possible to enjoy a treat once in a while, especially if your treat is a low-fat or light option. For example, low-fat cakes, cookies and muffins are alright in moderation.
Tests for High LDL Cholesterol
There are several different tests doctors use to check for high LDL cholesterol levels;
- Direct LDL Test – This test is purely to measure your LDL levels and does not test or check anything else. This test can be carried out at any time of the day, regardless of whether you have eaten or not.
- Fasting Cholesterol Test – This type of test measures HDL and LDL cholesterol, as well as fats and something known as triglycerides.
- Simple Cholesterol Test – This is the test most commonly carried out by the doctor in his surgery, the results of which will determine whether the person requires any further testing. This test is basic and simply measures cholesterol level, whether you have eaten before the test or not will have no bearings on the results.
Is High LDL Cholesterol Really Symptomless?
Doctors find that high cholesterol is often difficult to diagnose, especially in young people as there are usually no really symptoms to alert the individual to a problem.
There are a couple of symptoms people may notice, but again these are not common.
- Pain – Although fairly rare, it is possible for people with high cholesterol to experience pain in their legs and arms. This is usually due to a build up of cholesterol in the blood, which is then causing a problem in the arteries.
- Chest pain – Again, as a result of a build up of cholesterol in the arteries, individuals with high cholesterol may find they experience pain their chest, also called angina pectoris. If you do experience pain in your chest area, you should seek advice from a doctor immediately. Do not assume it is a result of high LDL cholesterol.
- Heart Problems – In cases of extremely high LDL cholesterol, there is the risk that the individual will suffer from severe heart palpitations. This, coupled with hardening of the arteries can lead to heart attacks and even death.
- Skin problems – In a small number of cases, high LDL levels can cause changes in a person’s complexion – with small fatty pockets forming on the skin.
If you have any concerns about your cholesterol level, regardless of whether you have suffered from any symptoms or not, you can consult with your doctor who will organize the appropriate tests.
Life after High Cholesterol?
Unfortunately, for a small number of people the only way they can control their LDL cholesterol level is by taking medication, known as statins, for the rest of their life.
However, it is possible in the majority of cases for individuals to reduce their cholesterol through lifestyle changes on their own.
Avoiding high cholesterol foods and taking part in regular exercise will help maintain a healthy cholesterol level, as well as improve an individual’s overall health.
Is Low Cholesterol Harmful?
We are all aware of the potential harm that high cholesterol levels can cause, but what, if any, are the risks posed by low cholesterol?
According to the Mayo Clinic, individuals who suffer from very low cholesterol levels are at risk of developing a variety of serious health conditions. A low total cholesterol level has been linked to depression, cancer and other disorders.
While high LDL cholesterol is not a good thing, if it drops to a worryingly low level a doctor may need to assess the person to determine how they can raise their cholesterol to a normal level.
As with high LDL cholesterol levels, diet can have a huge impact on a person who is believed to have low cholesterol numbers. Giving up smoking and taking regular exercise is also recommended. Eating foods high in fat is NOT recommended, because even though cholesterol levels are low eating too much fat can still cause a number of health problems.
Here are a few ways to raise HDL cholesterol healthily and naturally:
- Orange Juice – According to a study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, individuals who drank around three cups of fresh orange juice a day significantly raised their HDL cholesterol levels over the course of a month. While this may not be a guaranteed fix, the evidence to support the journal’s findings is convincing.
- Eggs – The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also completed a study on cholesterol involving eggs. Their findings revealed that the average person suffering from low cholesterol could significantly raise their HDL levels by adding an egg a day to their diet. According to the journal, of the individuals studied 78-percent showed an increase in HDL cholesterol levels after three months.
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