Cholesterol and Foods to Avoid
A Little Cholesterol Background
High cholesterol is one of the very few risk factors that is controllable by the individual. Unfortunately there are many people that either don't know that they can and how to do it or they consider it to much effort to try to control. High cholesterol levels are very high risk factors for heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. The higher your bad cholesterol levels rise the more likely you are to run the risk of having coronary heart disease. So, what are the different types of cholesterol and what is good and what is bad?
LDL (bad) cholesterol
LDL stands for low density lipoprotein. When you have too much of this circulating in your blood it can and most likely will slowly build in the inner walls of your arteries that feed the heart and brain. I'm sure you can see the problem. This bad cholesterol gets together with other substances in the body and begins to build a plaque that will narrow arteries, make blood flow more difficult and make the arteries less flexible.
HDL (good) cholesterol
HDL is high density lipoproteins and these are the good guys, this is the cholesterol that is thought to protect the heart from having a heart attack. It is believed that HDL carries cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver which then passes it from the body. Higher levels of this cholester is considered to be good so it stands to reason that lower level is not so good. Lower levels of the HDL cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease.ol
A triglyceride is a form of fat that is made in the body. Common sense may tell you that higher levels of triglycerides is caused by being overweight or obese. Did you know that higher levels are also caused by pyhsical inacitivity, cigarette smoking, excess alcohol consumption and a diet that is very high in caarbohydrates. If you have a high triglyceride level you usually have a high LDL level and a low HDL level. Not a good thing.
So, what do you do to help control these level? There are many things but, I am going to concentrate on what foods to avoid. If you can get your diet on the right track you can then start looking into an exercise program, stop smoking and drinking and start living.
Foods to Avoid
pork, bacon, sausage, duck, goose, marbled beef, skin and fat on turkey and chicken, luncheon meats, hot dogs, kidneys, liver, and any processed meat . The only fish I found that is to be avoided is canned fish packed in oil.
coconuts - this is the only fruit I have come across that is on the no-no list and that is because it is high in saturated fats.
potatoes, corn, Lima beans, dried peas ( these are starchy vegetables), and avocados. An occasional potato, baked of course, is allowable because of the high fiber content.
baked beans with sugar and pork added to them
Avoid egg yolks, limit yourself to two yolks per week. Egg whites are ok.
Try to limit yourself to 1 tbsp of peanuts or walnuts per day.
When sugar is added to pastries, donuts, sweet rolls and other bread products the sugar converts to triglycerides. Try to avoid any baked goods made with sugar and shortening.
whole milk and anything made with it, ice cream, pudding, yogurt, cheese and avoid nondairy creamer. However ice milk, low fat yogurts, and pudding make with 1% or fat free milk are allowed.
Fats and oils
any that is high in saturated fats or contains hydrogenated fats
Desserts and snacks
fried snack foods such as potato chips, chocolate, candy, syrup, jelly, jam, hydrogenated peanut butter
avoid any drink containing sugar and limit your alcohol to 1 oz of liquor, 5oz of beer or 2 1/2 oz of dry table wine. The drink is to be used instead of having a bread.
Cholesterol levels - good and bad
Now that you have decided to start controlling your cholesterol level you need to know what the good and bad levels are.
Total Cholesterol Level
Best: less than 200 mg/dl
Borderline high: 200 -239 mg/dl
High risk: 240 mg/dl or more
LDL (bad) cholesterol
Optimal: below 100 mg/sl
Near optimal: 100-129 mg/dl
Borderline high: 130-159 mg/dl
High: 160-189 mg/dl
Very high: 190 mg/dl
HDL (good) cholesterol
Higher risk: less than 40mg/dl
Desirable: 60 mg/dl or higher
Normal: less than 150 mg/dl
Borderline high: 150-199mg/dl
High: 200-499 mg/sl
Very high: 500 mg/dl or more
Your intake of dietary cholesterol increases blood cholesterol, but not nearly as much as your intake of saturated fat and trans fat. Both saturated fat and dietary cholesterol are found in animal foods such as meats, poultry and dairy products.
© 2010 Susan Hazelton