High Cholesterol Foods List

Cholesterol is hard to avoid in the modern American diet. Mother Nature packs cholesterol into some whole foods, such as eggs, dairy and meat. Food manufacturers package cholesterol into breakfast sandwiches, chips and snack cakes. Cholesterol is essential for human health and development but too much of the wrong kind leads to heart trouble. Developing a high cholesterol foods list helps you control the health benefits and risks associated with cholesterol.

chocolate orange cupcakes

Should this cupcake be on your high cholesterol foods list?

The phrase high cholesterol foods can mean one of two things: it can refer to foods that contain a large amount of cholesterol, or it can mean food that causes blood cholesterol levels to rise.

The difference is important because scientists and top researchers now realize that natural, whole foods containing large amounts of cholesterol may not put you at an increased risk for heart disease at all, whereas many so-called “cholesterol-free” foods are the culprits that cause bad cholesterol to rise to unhealthy levels.

The Role of Cholesterol

Cholesterol is so important to health that all animals, including humans, make cholesterol in their liver. Cholesterol is present in every cell membrane in the human body and is essential in the metabolism of certain vitamins. Your body needs cholesterol to produce essential hormones, including testosterone and estrogen.

An imbalance in blood cholesterol levels, however, can lead to heart disease. Cholesterol is a lipid, which is a waxy substance that does not dissolve well into the watery plasma of blood. The body overcomes this by packaging cholesterol onto special proteins to create lipoproteins that transport cholesterol around the body.

Low-density lipoproteins, or LDLs, move cholesterol from the gut to the awaiting body parts that need it. Excess cholesterol builds upside arterial walls, preventing blood from flowing to essential organs like the brain and heart. HDLs, or high-density lipoprotein, scrapes excess cholesterol from arterial walls and delivers it to the liver, where it is eliminated or recycled.

Your body relies on a healthy level of cholesterol with balanced HDL and LDL levels. While some doctors still focus on LDL numbers, many progressive health professionals prefer patients keep a healthy ratio of LDL to HDL. To learn your ration, divide HDL into LDL. An HDL/LDL ratio or .40 or higher is where you see a decreased risk of heart disease. Anything at .30 or below significantly increases your heart risk.

High Cholesterol Foods List

All food made from animal products contains cholesterol. Additionally, many man-made food items contain cholesterol or substances that raise cholesterol levels, including trans fat and processed sugar.

Some whole foods that contain natural levels of cholesterol include…

  • Turkey giblets
  • Chicken giblets
  • Beef liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Shrimp
  • Duck
  • Cheese
  • Sardines

Many of these foods are on patients "do not eat" list if they have high cholesterol. But the fact is that eating moderate amounts of natural dietary cholesterol is actually beneficial to our health and not the cause of a cholesterol problem.

Yes for some people, eating these cholesterol-rich foods may increase total cholesterol slightly. But what often gets overlooked and ignored is that the overall cholesterol profile and arterial health is actually improved because it's the "good" healthy cholesterol our bodies need that is increased and not the harmful oxidized LDL.

Meanwhile, some processed foods that can easily raise cholesterol levels and lead to artery-clogging problems include…

  • Doughnuts
  • Fast food
  • Frozen food
  • Margarine
  • Pre-packaged cake and cookie mixes
  • Ramen noodles and soup cups
  • Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages

Many are obsessing over what foods are high in cholesterol, instead they should be looking at which foods cause cholesterol to form and accumulate. Controlling consumption of the wrong foods will help keep your LDL and HDL levels in the healthiest balance possible. You may want to signup for our tips below (it's free), to avoid all the confusion and misinformation that's frustrating so many cholesterol patients today.

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