Cardiologist shares the 4 worst foods for high cholesterol and what to eat to maintain a ‘healthy heart’Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol builds up in the arteries and forms plaque that blocks blood flow to the brain. HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol traps LDL and takes it to the liver for processing.
Optimal levels vary from person to person, so always check with your doctor first.
Like cardiologist who treats patients with high cholesterol, I always try to use diet as medicine first. Here are the four worst foods for high cholesterol—and what I’m eating instead to keep my heart healthy:
Yes, that includes burgers, ribs, steaks and pork chops. If you don’t want to give up red meat entirely, focus on small amounts of lean meat. And by small, I mean a serving size of up to three ounces—and eat red meat no more than once a week.
Remember that poultry also contains saturated fat, so avoiding red meat doesn’t necessarily mean you have to load up on chicken.
When it comes to meat alternatives, I’m generally skeptical of engineered foods. To me, plants were never meant to bleed.
What to eat instead: Think fish and shellfish. Shrimp may be high in cholesterol, but as long as you don’t douse them in oil, they’ll provide you with plenty of protein while leaving your blood cholesterol alone.
Some other tasty lean protein options are white-fleshed fish like tilapia, halibut, cod, and sea bass.
Frying food generally increases the calorie count because saturated or trans fat and cholesterol are absorbed from the food during the process.
What to eat instead: Roast potatoes, kale or broccoli until crispy when you’re craving crunchy. Or you can invest in a deep fryer that uses much less fat.
The World Health Organization has classified processed meats such as bacon, hot dogs and salami as carcinogens. Processed meat is also full of sodium and saturated fat.
What to eat instead: Fake bacon is unlikely to satisfy your BLT craving. My advice? Cut back on these products and make them special occasion treats.
Mass-produced cookies, cakes, and pastries are often high in calories, low in nutrients, and high in fat (especially saturated fat like butter and shortening) and sugar. All of these are big culprits of high cholesterol.
What to eat instead: Bake at home and control the amount and type of fat and sugar you use.
Dr. Elizabeth Claude is a cardiologist and founder of First step foods. Trained at the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins, Dr. Clodas has published dozens of scientific articles throughout her career, authored a patient book, “Kill the Giant: The Power of Prevention in Beating Heart Disease,″ and served as founding editor-in-chief of Cardiosmart.org.
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