When it comes to cholesterol, it can be extremely confusing what’s healthy and how to effectively manage your diet. It can also be hard to figure out which blood cholesterols are good and bad for your health and which foods can trigger each of them.
High-density lipoprotein, or HDL as it’s also known, is the ‘good’ cholesterol. It benefits your body by protecting it against coronary heart disease. The tricky part is most people are also living with low-density lipoprotein, LDL, which is the ‘bad’ cholesterol. LDL increases the chances to coronary heart disease by adding to the build-up of plaque in the arteries.
Managing cholesterol is important, with many health professionals suggesting the key to staying healthy is to raise levels of HDL while also keeping LDL as low as possible. One of the key ways to do this is by changing your diet.
While it can be tasty and delicious to tuck into a piece of chicken or a fatty piece of meat, Live Strong suggests that these types of food increase levels of LDL because they are high in saturated fat. These meats can include, but are not limited to, steaks, bacon, beef mince and chicken breast with the skin on.
Most of these meats contain dietary cholesterol which is known to raise LDL cholesterol levels. Instead, try and choose skinless chicken and lean beef where possible.
It may be a favourite amongst Australians, but lamb is high in ‘bad’ cholesterol. In fact, one serving can contain a third of the recommended daily intake of cholesterol, so while it’s acceptable to eat in moderation, it’s always important to try balance it with the rest of your diet.
While eggs can do wonders for your health — they’re a great source of vitamin D — yolks are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to increased levels of low-density lipoprotein. While they can have a different impact in individual cases, many experts warn people to be cautious of egg consumption and opt for egg-whites only if you’re trying to lower your LDL levels.
While dairy is a vital part of a balanced diet, a lot of common foods and drinks including milk, cheese, pizza and ice cream contain high levels of saturated fat, which in turn, contain LDL-increasing cholesterol.
While it isn’t recommended to cut dairy out of your diet completely, it’s a good idea to cut out versions that contain added sugar to help reduce your overall levels.
While a lot of juices on the market pride themselves as a healthy alternative to soft drinks and sugary energy drinks, many contain high levels of sugar that are known to be another contributing factor to higher LDL levels. When it doubt, always be sure to check the label of your juice and opt for items that have no added sugar where possible. Limiting sugar intake can lower these LDL cholesterol levels, as well as improve your overall health.
Including more foods such as nuts, legumes and olive oil can help lower blood cholesterol, while junk food that is high in fats and sugar tends to increase LDL. If in doubt, be sure to contact your doctor or health specialist who may be able to assist with dietary recommendations.
With Facebook removing news sites from your feeds we ask that you sign up for Starts at 60’s emailers here. And to keep us on your wall, join some of our new Facebook groups and clubs:
See news on the change and links to all our other clubs and groups here.