Fast Foods Are Not Friendly Foods
While treating yourself every once and a while isn’t terrible, too much fast food can lead to high cholesterol and a series of other health problems. “Fast foods, especially fried foods, often contain large amounts of saturated fats that can raise your bad LDL cholesterol levels,” William W. Li, MD, a physician, scientist, and author of Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself tells Health Digest. “In addition, eating a lot of fast food probably means you are not eating a lot of healthier foods containing fiber that improves gut health and lowers cholesterol. “
A 2017 study in Archives of Disease in Childhood found that people who ate fast food when they were children had higher LDL cholesterol, which could increase their risk of obesity and coronary heart disease.
“The high fat content in fast food can contribute to high cholesterol, which can also lead to atherosclerosis. That occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries and prevents the flow of blood to the heart and organs,” Jim White, a dietician and owner of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studio, told Eat This, Not That!
There’s Nothing Devilish About Deviled Eggs
Eggs have cholesterol, but their nutritional value outweighs any cons against eating them. According to Harvard Health Publishing, eating a chicken egg a day won’t increase the risk for stroke or other cardiovascular diseases. This changes when other ingredients that raise cholesterol levels are added, such as butter, cheese, bacon, sausage, muffins, or scones.
Nicole Avena, Ph.D., nutrition and health expert and author of Why Diets Fail, tells Health Digest that since eggs still increase LDL levels in the body, it can be harmful to people with preexisting health conditions. “For those with diabetes or who are at risk for heart disease, they should limit their egg consumption to three per week.”
“For most people, they can eat eggs in moderate amounts and experience no deterioration of their health,” Avena told Health Digest. The Mayo Clinic says that healthy people who eat seven eggs a week don’t seem to have an increased heart disease risk. If you’re watching your cholesterol intake, the Mayo Clinic recommends using egg whites since egg yolk has the most cholesterol in an egg, where it stands at 186 mg.
Cholesterol And Healthy Eating
What we eat has an impact on our cholesterol levels and can help reduce our risk of disease. Try to eat a wide variety of foods from each of the five food groups. Not only does this help to maintain a healthy and interesting diet, but it provides essential nutrients to the body.
The Heart Foundation recommends:
- Plenty of vegetables, fruits and wholegrains.
- A variety of healthy protein sources , legumes , nuts and seeds. Smaller amounts of eggs and lean poultry can also be included in a heart healthy diet. If choosing red meat, make sure it is lean and limit to 1-3 times a week.
- Unflavoured milk, yoghurt and cheese. Those with high blood cholesterol should choose reduced fat varieties.
- Healthy fat choices nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils for cooking
- Herbs and spices to flavour foods, instead of adding salt.
Also, be mindful on how much you are eating and whether you are filling up on unhealthy foods. Portion sizes have increased over time and many of us are eating more than we need which can lead to obesity and increase our risk of cardiovascular disease.
Ideally, a healthy plate would include servings of ¼ protein, ¼ carbohydrates and ½ vegetables.
Serving size can vary depending on age, gender and specific nutrition needs.
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Shrimp Isn’t So Bad When Eaten In Moderation
Shrimp may be low in fat, but they’re packed with cholesterol. Healthline explains that 3.5 ounces of shrimp are 200 mg of cholesterol a small serving that almost reaches the recommended daily cholesterol intake. According to Medical News Today, the high cholesterol levels once had doctors recommend against eating it. However, a 1996 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition debunked this claim. They found adding shrimp to a low-fat diet increased more of the HDL cholesterol than the LDL cholesterol.
Indeed, a 2013 review in Current Science reported that when considering all the other nutrients shrimp provides proteins, trace minerals, and carotenoids shrimp is healthy food to eat.
Nicole Avena, Ph.D., nutrition and health expert and author of Why Diets Fail, tells Health Digest that eating shrimp isn’t so bad when eaten in moderation. “Shrimp, while it is high in LDL cholesterol, also helps to raise the good HDL cholesterol so that the ratio between the two types in the body is still balanced.”
Saturated Fats Diminish Endothelial Health And Attack Nitric Oxide
High-fat fast food meals were the focus of the study above – for good reason, high saturated fat foods deplete nitric oxide and cause endothelial health breakdown for a considerable period of time after eating a high-fat fast food meal. For those who eat fast food as a matter of habit, theyre hardly giving their bodies anytime to recover. Say they have three high-fat fast-food meals you can estimate that about 18 out of 24 hours of their day, their body is being bombarded, almost attacked by low endothelial health outcomes.
Metabolic issues begin to arise as a result of a high saturated fat diet. Nitric oxide is depleted and is incredibly hard to produce once a persons lifestyle has crossed the threshold of metabolic issues. According to research from Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism, habitual high-fat diets are directly associated with endothelial dysfunction.
The reduction of saturated fats helps avoid the depletion of nitric oxide production and will contribute to overall health. One study published in the Archives of biochemistry and biophysics showed that an unsaturated high-fat diet had the opposite effect on nitric oxide levels and enhanced nitric oxide bioavailability.
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How The Fat You Eat Affects Cholesterol Levels
The relationship between the fat we eat and our health, particularly our cardiovascular health, has been hotly debated for many years.
Heres what you need to know:
Not all fats are created equally.
The kinds of fat you eat matter more than the amount.
There are different types of fats in our diet:
Polyunsaturated fats: essential and important nutrients
Monounsaturated fats: can come from plant or animal products and are generally considered healthy
Saturated fats: less healthy than mono- and polyunsaturated fats
Trans fats: unhealthy fats
Which Foods Are High In Cholesterol
All animal foods contain some cholesterol. But by cutting down on the animal foods that contain saturated fats you will be keeping the cholesterol in your diet in check too.
Foods that contain cholesterol and are high in saturated fat.
Full fat dairy foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt and cream.
Animal fats, such as butter, ghee, margarines and spreads made from animal fats, lard, suet and dripping.
Fatty meat and processed meat products such as sausages.
There are some foods which are low in saturated fat but high in cholesterol. These include eggs, some shellfish, liver, liver pate and offal. Most people dont need to cut down on the cholesterol thats found in these foods.
Foods that contain cholesterol but are low in saturated fat.
Lean meat, especially offal, such as liver, kidney, sweetbreads, heart and tripe
Prawns, crab, lobster, squid, octopus and cuttlefish.
For people with FH, or who have high cholesterol, or are at high risk of or have cardiovascular disease, you can still eat some of these foods, but you need to be more careful about how often you eat them to ensure youre keeping within the guidelines. For example, you could eat three or four eggs a week, and shellfish such as prawns up to once or twice a week.
You should avoid liver and offal altogether because they are very rich sources of cholesterol.
The table below shows the amount of cholesterol in these types of foods:-
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Olive Oil And The Mediterranean Diet
Researchers are investigating the possibility that a diet rich in monounsaturated fats, , may be protective against the development of coronary heart disease. People who have a high consumption of monounsaturated fats from olive oil tend to have low rates of coronary heart disease, regardless of their body weight. Olive oil contains many compounds that are beneficial to human health, including omega-6 fatty acids, plant sterols and phenolic compounds, which seem to possess strong antioxidant properties. Because of these compounds, olive oil consumption may have a protective role against development of breast, colon, lung, ovarian and skin cancers. Several studies have also shown that olive oil may have additional beneficial effects on blood pressure, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis and immune function. However, the Mediterranean diet contains much more than olive oil. Its possible that the low rate of coronary heart disease in these countries relates to a high intake of vegetables, legumes, fruits and cereals, which are all rich in antioxidants and plant sterols. Choosing extra virgin olive oil as your main source of dietary fat, as well as eating a healthy and balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grain breads and cereals, may reduce your risk of chronic disease development and increase your life expectancy.
Fill Up On Plant Proteins
Protein is an important part of your diet. It helps your body build and repair tissues, preserves lean mass and supports general health. When combined with exercise, its benefits are even greater. Before deciding what kind of protein to eat, it’s important to know how much of it you need on a daily basis.
The American Heart Association cautions against eating too much protein. As it turns out, individuals with high amounts of protein in their diet are more likely to have heart issues than those who consume smaller amounts. To find out how much protein you need, use this handy calculator from the USDA.
It is also important to know what kind of protein and low-cholesterol foods to eat. Plant-based protein sources appear to be more beneficial for cardiovascular health than animal foods. A February 2018 review in Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine suggests that diets rich in plant-based proteins, nuts, high-fiber foods and plant sterols may help lower cholesterol levels while improving blood pressure and overall heart health.
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High Cholesterol Foods To Avoid
Foods that likely raise LDL cholesterol contain saturated fat and trans-fat.
Highly saturated foods are animal products such as: high-fat cuts of beef, lamb, pork, butter, cream, ice cream, whole milk, cheese, egg yolks, and foods that are made with these products.
Foods high in trans-fat are: fried foods, commercially baked goods , processed foods, and margarines. Try to find trans-fat free margarines, or use olive or canola oil instead of butter or margarine when you are cooking.
When To See Your Doctor
If you have a family history of high cholesterol, and are concerned about your own levels, its a good idea to see your healthcare provider. High levels of LDL cholesterol increase the risk of heart disease. Some people have familial hypercholesterolemia , which is an inherited disorder that makes it more challenging to remove low-density lipoprotein cholesterol from your blood. This results in high LDL cholesterol levels in the blood.
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Fibre And Bowel Cancer Risk
Studies have shown that dietary fibre, cereal fibre and wholegrains are protective against some forms of cancer. Fibre is thought to decrease bowel cancer risk by increasing stool bulk, diluting possible carcinogens present in the diet and decreasing transit time through the colon.
Also, bacterial fermentation of fibre leads to the production of short-chain fatty acids, which are thought to have protective effects.
Other research has found that a 10g per day intake of total dietary fibre equates to a 10% reduction in risk of colorectal cancer.
Duck Away From The Duck
While chicken and turkey have low cholesterol, says WebMD, ducks don’t seem to fit into that category. One cup of cooked duck contains approximately 128 milligrams of cholesterol.”Excessive intake of red meat will drive up LDL levels , the fattier the red meat, the more it will increase heart disease risk,” Deborah Murray, MS, professor at Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions tells Health Digest.
Another article in WebMD explains that duck meat has monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats that help reduce LDL cholesterol. But there are also saturated fats that increase LDL cholesterol much more than other healthy fats.
Duck eggs are also concerning for people watching their cholesterol. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Veterinary and Animal Sciences found that cholesterol levels were higher in duck eggs than chicken eggs. Since game is typically lean, Murray recommends eating the duck without the skin for a healthier meal.
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Saturated And Trans Fats
Foods high in saturated and trans fats top the list of items to reduce or eliminate on a low cholesterol diet. The American Heart Association recommends reducing saturated fat to less than 6% of total daily calories if you need to lower cholesterol levels. Trans fats are found in margarine, baked goods, non-dairy coffee creamer, and fried foods. Saturated fats are in many common foods, so its helpful to read food labels while shopping.
Interestingly, lard, which is pork fat, is lower in saturated fat and higher in monounsaturated fat than butter. It has higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. That said, it is still a middle-of-the-road choice when it comes to cooking, and whenever possible, you should opt for healthier fats like olive oil.
When Wholegrains Are Refined
When grains are refined , the bran and germ layers are generally removed, leaving only the endosperm. This process can cause significant losses of fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals from the grains.Some fibre, vitamins and minerals may be added back into refined cereal products , which compensates for losses, but it is impossible to add the mix of phytochemicals that is lost in the processing. In Australia, it is mandatory for wheat flour used in bread making to be fortified with folic acid and thiamine, and for the salt to be iodised.Refined cereals often have high levels of added sugar, fat or salt, and generally have a higher GI than their wholegrain equivalents. Eating excessive amounts of refined cereals may cause sharp rises in blood sugar levels and strong responses from the pancreas, which, over time, coupled with other unhealthy dietary behaviours, may lead to the development of diabetes.
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Work With Your Doctor On A Lower Cholesterol Plan
Lowering your cholesterol doesnt mean going it alone. Your primary care doctor is a helpful partner along your journey.
Your doctor can work with you to create an action plan just for you one that combines diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes to help you lower and manage your cholesterol.
For example, losing weight and quitting smoking can be big helpers for lowering cholesterol. Quitting smoking can raise your good HDL cholesterol levels, and losing weight can lower your bad LDL cholesterol levels significantly.
But these two tasks arent easy. Fortunately, your primary care doctor can be a great resource to help you get started and find practical ways to stick with it. Plus, help with quitting smoking and losing weight may already be covered if you have health insurance.
Whether you want to quit smoking, lose weight or just learn more about how your personal health would benefit from lower cholesterol levels, regular check-ins with your doctor are key. They can also perform cholesterol tests the only way to actually measure cholesterol to check your progress and help you make adjustments based on the results.
Prepare Your Food A Little Differently
Its not only what you eat its how you eat it. Just as you can change what you buy in the grocery store, you can also choose healthier ways to make your food that help lower your cholesterol naturally. For example:
- Trim fat and remove the skin when cooking meat or fish. This helps you get the protein while reducing fat intake.
- Focus on boiling, broiling, baking, poaching or grilling. These are better methods of preparation than deep frying or breading, which can bring in extra fat.
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Foods To Eat To Lower Cholesterol
The term cholesterol still causes a lot of confusion. So, what exactly is cholesterol? Cholesterol is in every cell in your body, its made by the liver, and travels in your blood. Cholesterol is a good thing it has many important roles like fat absorption, making vitamin D from the sun, and making hormones. But too much cholesterol can cause problems for some people.
So, there is cholesterol in your blood and in food. Food from animals including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy have cholesterol. However, dietary cholesterol doesnt automatically turn into cholesterol in your blood.
High levels of cholesterol in the blood have been linked to heart disease. People with diabetes are 2-4 times more likely to die from heart disease than someone without diabetes. So, we used to think that dietary cholesterol was the heart disease villain. Newer thinking is that heart disease is about inflammation. What causes inflammation in people is different. Contributors to inflammation include diet, environment, toxins, stress, infections, lack of sleep, and excess body weight. Another cause of inflammation for people with type 2 diabetes is high levels of insulin in the blood or insulin resistance.