LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol builds up in arteries and forms plaques that block blood flow to the brain. HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol picks up LDL and transports it to the liver for processing.
Optimal levels vary from person to person, so always check with your doctor first.
As a cardiologist who treats patients with high cholesterol, I always try to use diet as the first medicine. Here’s what to eat.
1. red meat
Yes, burgers, ribs, steaks and pork chops are included. If you don’t want to cut red meat completely, focus on small amounts of red meat. And by small, I mean portion sizes up to 3 ounces, and eating red meat no more than once a week.
Poultry also contains saturated fat, so avoiding red meat doesn’t necessarily mean you need to eat a lot of chicken.
When it comes to meat substitutes, I’m generally skeptical about processed foods.
What to eat instead: Think seafood. Shrimp may be high in cholesterol, but unless you use butter, they will leave your blood cholesterol intact and provide plenty of protein.
Other delicious lean protein options are white fish such as tilapia, halibut, cod, and bass.
2. Fried foods in general
Frying food usually increases the calorie count as saturated or trans fat and cholesterol are absorbed into the food during the process.
What to eat instead: For a crunchy crunch, crisp potatoes, kale and broccoli. Alternatively, you can invest in an air fryer that uses far less fat.
3. Processed meat
The World Health Organization classifies processed meats such as bacon, hot dogs, and salami as carcinogens. Processed meats also contain sodium and saturated fat.
What to eat instead: Fake bacon is unlikely to satisfy your BLT cravings. my advice? Slash those products and make them treats for special occasions.
4. Baked goods
Mass-produced cookies, cakes, and pastries are often high in calories, low in nutrients, and contain high amounts of fat (especially saturated fats such as butter and shortening) and sugar. These are all major causes of high cholesterol.
What to eat instead: Bake at home and control the amount and type of fat and sugar you use.
Dr. Elizabeth Crodus Cardiologist and Founder Step One FoodsTrained at the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins, Dr. Clodus has published dozens of scientific papers and authored books for patients throughout his career.Slay the Giant: The power of prevention to beat heart diseaseserved as the first editor-in-chief of Cardiosmart.org.
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