Heart disease is the primary cause of death worldwide, and high cholesterol is a major risk factor. For years, people avoided cholesterol-rich foods such as eggs in an effort to manage cholesterol.
Today, we know that foods high in cholesterol aren’t the main contributors to elevations in blood cholesterol. Of all dietary components, saturated fat has the most potent impact on raising low-density lipoprotein (LDL), a harmful form of cholesterol.
At Westmed Family Healthcare, we put together this guide of the top five foods to avoid to lower your cholesterol, and we urge you to work with one of our medical professionals to protect your heart and stay healthy.
Bacon for breakfast, a hot dog at a baseball game, and a ham sandwich at a summer picnic may seem like staples, but these processed meats are rich in saturated fat and can increase your cholesterol levels.
Cutting back on processed meats is one of the most beneficial dietary changes you can make to lower your cholesterol. Here are some examples of processed meats to avoid:
- Beef jerky
- Corned beef
In addition to processed meats, some cuts of meat are laden with saturated fats. Rib cuts are a significant source of saturated fats. When choosing meat, look for lean cuts, which are more beneficial on your cholesterol journey. The all-stars of lean cuts are sirloin tips, top round, and bottom round.
Not all fat is created equal. Certain fat is essential, meaning your body must get it from your diet. Oils such as olive and flaxseed are beneficial to your health. But saturated fats are harmful to your heart and circulatory system. Unhealthy fats and oils to avoid are:
- Partially hydrogenated products
- Palm oil
- Palm kernel oil
We highly recommend that you avoid deep-fried foods to lower cholesterol and promote heart health. Oils commonly used for deep frying are rich in saturated fat. When it comes to elevated cholesterol, deep-fried foods are a contributor.
Baking, grilling, and broiling are healthier cooking methods.
Biscuits, cookies, cakes, and other baked goods are a rich source of saturated fat. The standard dough recipes used to make baked goods are high in total fat, and much of that fat is in the saturated form.
The fat in baked goods gives it the texture and melt-in-the-mouth feel. It also prevents the gluten from absorbing the water content and drying out the dough. Due to the key role of fat in baked goods, it’s difficult to find baked goods that are low in saturated fat. Your best bet is to bake foods yourself using healthier recipes.
Cutting back on foods high in saturated fat and replacing them with healthy fats is a cornerstone of managing cholesterol through diet. When diet and lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough, our family physicians can prescribe medication to help.
Call our Westminster, Colorado, office to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified physicians or to talk with our on-call provider. We offer online scheduling and same-day urgent care appointments.