What Foods Cause High Cholesterol?

Foods high in certain types of fats can contribute to elevated cholesterol levels, specifically LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein), often referred to as “bad” cholesterol. High LDL cholesterol levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems. Here are some types of foods that can cause high cholesterol:

  1. Saturated Fats: These fats are found in animal-based products and some plant oils. Foods high in saturated fats include:
    • Fatty cuts of red meat (beef, lamb, pork)
    • Processed meats (sausages, bacon, deli meats)
    • Full-fat dairy products (whole milk, butter, cheese)
    • Tropical oils (coconut oil, palm oil)
  2. Trans Fats: Trans fats are artificial fats created through a process called hydrogenation. They are commonly found in processed and packaged foods to extend shelf life. Trans fats are especially harmful as they not only raise LDL cholesterol levels but also lower HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein), known as “good” cholesterol. Foods high in trans fats include:
    • Commercially baked goods (cakes, cookies, pastries)
    • Fried foods (french fries, fried chicken)
    • Margarine and many types of spreads
  3. Dietary Cholesterol: While dietary cholesterol has a more modest impact on blood cholesterol levels compared to saturated and trans fats, some people are more sensitive to it. Foods high in dietary cholesterol include:
    • Organ meats (liver, kidney, brain)
    • Shellfish (shrimp, lobster, crab)
    • Egg yolks

To lower LDL cholesterol and improve overall heart health, it’s advisable to reduce the intake of foods high in saturated and trans fats. Instead, consider including heart-healthy foods in your diet, such as:

It’s important to maintain a balanced diet and lead a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity to manage cholesterol levels effectively. If you have concerns about your cholesterol levels or heart health, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized advice and guidance. They can help you create a diet plan tailored to your specific needs and health goals.