Avoid these 3 foods to maintain cholesterol levels

Cholesterol plays an important role in many bodily functions. It is of two types — The first type is LDL or bad cholesterol, which leads to plaque build-up in blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart diseases. The other is HDL or good cholesterol, which can reduce the risk of heart conditions. It is important to develop healthy eating habits to lower LDL cholesterol. Mentioned below are three foods to avoid to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Three high cholesterol foods to avoid

Sugar-sweetened beverages
Common examples of such beverages include off-the-shelf soft drinks, sodas, sports drinks, flavored juices, and energy drinks. Some form of electrolyte replacement drinks also contain excess sugar. These items are high in calories and provide zero nutritional value. Almost 11 percent of total calories come from sugar-sweetened drinks. Instead of these beverages, one can choose to have plain water since it provides adequate hydration. One can also opt for fresh homemade lemonade or fruit juices. To keep the calories in check, you can have herbal tea and low-calorie hot chocolate.

Saturated fats
Pizzas, butter, cheese, fast foods, red meat, or foods cooked in palm oil are all high in saturated fats. This type of fat increases bad cholesterol in the blood. It can block blood vessels, which can disrupt blood flow to various parts of the body. Eating such foods can increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular diseases.

One way to manage this is by eating foods that have healthy fats. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are healthy forms of fats that can be found in salmon, peanuts, peanut butter, among other items. One can also increase their consumption of nuts, seeds, and olives. It is advisable to replace regular butter with vegetable oils to keep your cholesterol levels in check.

Trans fats
Readymade desserts like cakes and pastries are made from hydrogenated oils. Due to this, such foods contain trans fats, which can increase a person’s LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. Trans fats can also clog a person’s arteries, leading to various types of heart diseases. Foods like shortening, margarine, frozen pizzas, fried chicken, among other fried foods, are sources of trans fats and should be avoided.

Anyone can maintain their cholesterol levels by making healthier food choices. Eating foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fiber, and protein can help in maintaining cholesterol levels.