Learning About Foods That Affect Cholesterol Levels

Nutrition and Cholesterol

First, you need to have a simple understanding of what cholesterol is, and how certain foods that affect cholesterol levels can improve or diminish your health.

Your blood cholesterol contains both good HDL (high density lipoproteins), and bad LDL (low density lipoproteins). Each have specific functions within the body, and are dependent on one another. While the LDL is busy delivering cholesterol to the cells in your body, the HDL transports any excess cholesterol in the blood and arteries that is left behind during delivery, and redeposits it back to the liver to leave the body as waste. Cholesterol is necessary for proper digestion, and to process vitamin D, just to name a few vital needs.

Our bodies do make a large amount of what we need for cholesterol, while the other smaller amount that is needed comes from specific types of food. Most people with good genetics have no trouble with a diet that is moderate in cholesterol. However, those individuals who are not blessed with this heredity, need to pay more careful attention to their diet.

Lowering Cholesterol Naturally

So that raises the questions, what foods are best to eat for healthy blood cholesterol, and how can overall cholesterol be lowered?

Consume foods high in fiber. Foods that are high in soluble fiber help lower LDL cholesterol going to the bloodstream by binding to those fatty acids and helping the digestive process.

Foods such as: oatmeal, fruits like apples and bananas, and beans help to get the overall cholesterol down. Other foods that can have an impact on your cholesterol levels are omega 3 fatty fish, and most nuts (without added salt and sugar) to keep blood vessels healthy.

High Cholesterol Foods

There are those foods that should be eliminated altogether, for they will raise those LDL numbers on cholesterol sky-high. Saturated fats are a culprit in raising bad cholesterol. Fatty cuts of meat, such as steak and pork, or sausage, bacon, and pot roast have a higher saturated fat content. Sandwich and deli meats like salami and ham also increase cholesterol levels, especially when you order from fast food chains. For those individuals who eat on the run, mostly from fast food places, their cholesterol will be higher.

Other foods high in saturated fat are full-fat dairy products. Some examples are ice cream, milk, sour cream, butter, and cheese. Using heavy cream and vegetable oil in your baking is sure to increase cholesterol over time as well.

There are also more obvious foods to eliminate completely; shortening or lard, pastries, cookies, and other baked sweet treats are going to raise LDL cholesterol.

Keeping It Under Control

One last thing to keep in mind about food and its effect on cholesterol is that any food can make or break a healthy blood cholesterol level, if there are too many calories in your daily intake. Being overweight is also a factor for having a higher cholesterol reading, so keep your body weight within a normal range to avoid high cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.

Resources

Controlling Your Cholesterol-AskDrSears.com

Cholesterol: Top 5 Foods to Lower Your Numbers-www.mayoclinic.com/health/cholesterol

High Blood Cholesterol: What You Need to Know-www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/chol