There probably isn’t a single food that doesn’t have an affect on cholesterol levels. This affect can be either positive or negative though depending on the type of food you eat. One of the problems with cholesterol and it’s influence on cardiovascular disease is that usually the bad foods have a very strong negative affect on your health while the good foods only have a small, marginal health benefit. The good news is that the body uses cholesterol in small amounts for a number of functions so avoiding high cholesterol foods will allow your body to lower your cholesterol levels naturally. This article will describe some of the food types that are worst for your cholesterol levels along with some foods that actually will help lower your cholesterol level.
Worst foods for cholesterol levels
1. Red meat – A relatively small serving of red meat ( 6 ounces) contains more cholesterol than you should eat in an entire day. The fatter the meat, the worse the problem. Even a very small serving of meat such as hamburger will more than double the amount of cholesterol you should be eating. Alternatives for red meat include fish and chicken. it is very important to note though that chicken skin has enormous amounts of cholesterol. An otherwise healthy piece of chicken become worse than the fattiest red meats if the skin is eaten.
2. Butter – A tablespoon contains about a fifth of what you should be eating. With so much used in most baking, it is easy to see why butter consumption is a leading contributor to cardiovascular disease. There are many substitutes on the market, however, avoid any butter substitute such as margarine that is made with partially hydrogenated oil. Those products will contribute just as much cholesterol as butter, but they will do it cheaper. Look for butter substitutes that distinctly say that they contain no partially hydrogenated oils
3. Eggs – A single egg contains as much cholesterol as we should consume in an entire day. Now think about the average breakfast at a restaurant. A couple eggs, some bacon, maybe a pancake or two covered in butter.. it’s not hard to end up with five times our recommended cholesterol levels with a big breakfast. Substitute the ‘egg’ spot on your plate with oatmeal (discussed below) and you will not only eliminate the cholesterol from the eggs, but you will help lower the cholesterol consumed in the other food on the plate.
Best foods for cholesterol levels
1. Deep water fish – Salmon and tuna are the most popular examples of this type of fish. These type of fish benefit your cholesterol levels for two major reasons. First, they are red meat substitutes. Anything that replaces cow on your plate is a good thing. The second reason is that deep water fish are loaded with Omega-3 fatty acid. This type of fat actually lowers the amount of cholesterol in your bloodstream. Of course food preparation is important, melted butter on top of your fish ruins the healthy effect
2. Oat Bran (oatmeal) – Foods high in soluble fiber lower cholesterol by preventing cholesterol from being absorbed in the small intestines. When soluble fiber enters the small intestine, it forms a gel-like substance that traps cholesterol and escorts it out of the body undigested. Oatmeal is also a very ‘filling’ food, which means that if you eat it at the beginning of a meal, you will feel fuller faster, which may prevent you from finishing your second egg or sausage link.
3. Nuts and seeds – Nuts and seeds are a great snack because not only do they provide a high amount of protein which makes salad and pasta meals more healthy, but nuts and seeds also contain Omega-3 fatty acids like is found in fish. Again, a perfect food that replaces the protein found in high cholesterol red meat with a healthier alternative. Be careful of salted varieties as the amount of salt used is staggering and can cause other health problems like dehydration and high blood pressure.
The best way to reduce cholesterol levels without taking medications is to find ways to substitute some of the best foods for some of the worst foods. The impact of diet on cholesterol levels is huge and you can have an immediate and longlasting impact with just a few minor changes to the foods you eat.