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5 Foods That Contribute to High Cholesterol Levels

You probably know that high cholesterol is bad for your health.

But, did you know that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States?

That’s why it’s important to avoid specific foods that contribute to high cholesterol.

Understanding Cholesterol

 Most people think that cholesterol is all bad. However, that’s really not the case.

In fact, cholesterol is a needed component in your body.

This fatty, waxy substance helps your body to produce bile salts, Vitamin D, and metabolic hormones in order to break down the foods you eat.

More importantly, there are two types of cholesterol.

There is the “good” cholesterol, which is known as HDL cholesterol. And, experts believe that it’s fine to have higher levels of HDL cholesterol because it acts as a scavenger and carries the bad cholesterol away from the arteries and into the liver where it is passed through the body.

Then there’s the “bad” cholesterol, or LDL cholesterol. This type of cholesterol can slowly build up on the walls of your arteries and lead to atherosclerosis, which causes your arteries to become too narrow.

When this happens, it can have a serious impact on your blood flow and increase your risk of blood clots, heart attack, or stroke.

If you want to lower your cholesterol naturally, there a few foods that you will want to avoid.

Trans Fats and Processed Vegetable Oils

Trans fats are used in many processed foods including snack food, baked goods, margarine, and fast food.

They keep foods fresh longer and make them taste better.

Not only do trans fats contribute to high cholesterol, they have no nutritional value and cause significant health risks.

Obviously, trans fats should be avoided completely.

Snack Foods

The Western diet is filled with snack foods that contain high levels of salt, sugar, and other unhealthy ingredients.

Sadly, snack foods are readily available and thus, hard to avoid. This factor has undoubtedly led to our country’s elevated cholesterol levels and high incidences of obesity.

If you’re on a mission to lower your cholesterol levels, then you will want to stay away from junk foods like chips, crackers, and fried foods.

Refined Sugars

 Many individuals don’t realize that added sugars increase your blood glucose which, in turn, raises your “bad” or LDL cholesterol levels.

Not only does sugar increase your cholesterol, but it also puts you at an increased risk for obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

Unfortunately, sugar is everywhere. Approximately three out of every four packaged or processed foods in the U.S. contain added sugar.

Cutting back on sugar is non-negotiable if you want to lower your cholesterol levels. And cutting back on the obvious sugar culprits like sodas, cookies, and candy bars is a great place to start.

However, sugar lurks in many other foods as well, including spaghetti sauces, fruit juices, and breads.

You’ll need to begin reading food labels to understand how much added sugar you are consuming on a daily basis.

Excess Alcohol

 Although moderate alcohol consumption, or one drink each day, can protect your heart, more than one drink a day can contribute to many health problems including an increase in cholesterol.

And heavy drinkers are at elevated risk for additional health problems including stroke, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

So, cut back on the alcohol and stick to one drink a day.

Simple Carbohydrates

 Unfortunately, there are certain food that can lower your “good” cholesterol.

Refined carbs, such as the carbohydrates found in white bread, pasta, tortillas and other processed grains, can raise your blood glucose, which in turn lowers your HDL levels.

In addition, people who consume a high amount of refined carbs every day are more likely to suffer from metabolic disorders, struggle with obesity, and have high levels of “bad” cholesterol.

Final Thoughts

Obviously, with the increased health risks associated with high cholesterol, you will want to reduce or completely eliminate certain foods from your diet.

The best part is that you will soon be enjoying a healthier and happier life.