When we eat foods high in cholesterol such as animal fats, eggs, full fat dairy products and fried and oily stuffs, our liver returns the cholesterol it can't use to our blood stream. If there's too much cholesterol in the bloodstream, it would likely build up into fat deposits which could cause our arteries to narrow and potentially block them, leading to heart disease and stroke.
1. Cholesterol comes mainly from the saturated fats contained in animal products.
2. All foods from animals contain some cholesterol
3. Foods from plants do not contain cholesterol
As a matter of fact, you don't need to consume foods that contain cholesterol because your body is already producing all the cholesterol you need.
Foods high in cholesterol are normally foods high in saturated fats. If you want to have a healthy heart, you should limit their intake then, by avoiding:
- Full fat dairy products
- Processed meats
- Oily and deep-fried foods
- Cakes, biscuits, cookies, confectioneries and desserts
- Fatty meats
And avoid trans fat too (also referred to as trans-fatty acids) as when it combines with saturated fat, may raise your cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart disease.
It comes from adding hydrogen to vegetable oil through a process called hydrogenation. This makes the fat more solid and less likely to turn rancid.
Hydrogenated fat is a common ingredient in commercial baked goods such as crackers, cookies and cakes and in fried foods such as doughnuts and French fries.
Instead of eating foods high in cholesterol, you should eat a healthy, well-balanced, nutritious diet that:
- Has plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Includes wholegrain and wholemeal bread/pasta
- Contains higher portions of lean meat (meat trimmed of fat)
- Has lots of fish (at least twice a week)
- Contains higher portions of unsaturated fats - polyunsaturated fats like sunflower, soy and corn oil or monounsaturated fats like olive, peanut and canola oils
- Has significant amount of fiber
And of course changing to a healthier lifestyle helps heaps in reducing your cholesterol level.
You would benefit lots from changing just a few of your lifestyle habits such as:
- Reduce smoking or quit altogether as smoking increases the chance of LDL(low density lipoproteins) cholesterol (bad cholesterol) to get into your cells to cause havoc there
- Limit your alcohol intake to not more than 1 or 2 drinks per day
- Lose all the excess fat in your body as fat stored in your abs, for instance, is a health hazard as it increases your risk of heart disease, breast cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and colorectal cancer
- Start to exercise regularly (cardio exercise strength training) for at least 3-4 times per week, for at least 1 hour per session. It increases your HDL(high density lipoproteins) cholesterol (good cholesterol) and reduces your LDL cholesterol
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