Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in the fatty cells of the blood stream. Your body needs the good cholesterol (HDL) for building and maintaining healthy tissues, but high amounts of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the blood can transform into fatty deposits that impair blood flow and increase the risk of heart disease. High cholesterol may be genetic, but it is often a result of bad lifestyle and diet choices. Most health experts suggest that if you are healthy, you should not consume more than 300 grams of cholesterol every day and in you have high cholesterol limit you intake to less than 200 grams daily. Here are five foods that can raise your bad cholesterol levels and you must avoid them if you have high cholesterol.
1. Shellfish: Shellfish contains huge amounts of cholesterol and is usually cooked in butter which only adds to it. Therefore, people suffering from heart disease should avoid them. Shellfish like lobsters and prawns may be avoided.
Shellfish contains huge amounts of cholesterol.
2. Red meat: Red meat is high in saturated animal fats that are known to increase your total cholesterol in the body. If you are a meat lover, choose skinless cuts of lean meat like chicken or turkey breast or opt for fish instead. If you're buying frozen meat, opt for the one that is fat free. Even processed meat like sausages, cold cuts and bacon tend to be in high in sodium and can raise your cholesterol levels.
(Also read: 9 Effective Ways to Lower Bad Cholesterol)
Red meat is high in saturated animal fats. Photo Credit: istock
3. Butter and ghee: While desi ghee may be good for your body in moderate quantities, too much of it can raise your cholesterol levels as it is rich in saturated fats. Similarly, avoid having processed butter that may contain trans-fat and also a lot of sodium that raises your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Avoid having processed butter that may contain trans-fat.
4. Coconut oil and coconut cream: While coconut oil is considered healthy, it contains saturated fats in the form of lauric acid which may end up adding to your total cholesterol levels. So, it is best to limit your food consumption. It is often recommended to consume less than 24 grams of saturated fats daily. You must also avoid processed cooking oils such as canola oil or corn oil as they may contain trans-fats.
Coconut oil contains saturated fats in the form of lauric acid. Photo Credit: Istock
5. Ice cream: A scoop of ice-cream is probably not the best dessert for people with high cholesterol. Manufacturers may often use full fat milk and cream and in some cases, replace these expensive dairy products with low quality hydrogenated vegetables oils that can raise your bad cholesterol levels. Moreover, excess added sugar from aerated drinks, bakery products and packaged juices can also lead to weight gain, inflammation and high triglycerides and all of them have a negative impact on your cholesterol levels.
The American Heart Association recommends that all individuals above the age of 20 should get their cholesterol levels checked every year and monitor them regularly.