High levels of “bad” cholesterol are one of the biggest drivers of heart disease – we’ll be diving into the different kinds of cholesterol, how they affect your health and the 5 worst offenders for heart health.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is produced by the liver and is essential for many bodily functions. Foods like meat, dairy and poultry then make up the rest of the cholesterol found in our bodies, and, like anything, eating these foods in excess can spell trouble for your cholesterol levels. But it’s worth noting, we rely on cholesterol for building cells, making vitamins and producing hormones – high levels of HDL cholesterol – the “good” kind we mentioned earlier – can actually decrease your risk for stroke and heart disease as it helps flush out excess cholesterol from our arteries. It’s the LDL cholesterol – the “bad” kind – that you have to watch out for. These are the kind that increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. The good news is that by making dietary changes, we can help to lower our LDL cholesterol levels. We’ll be discussing 5 foods that can raise our bad cholesterol levels and should be consumed in moderation or avoided altogether.
Fried foods, such as French fries, chicken wings, and fried chicken, are high in saturated and trans fats. These fats can raise our LDL cholesterol levels and contribute to the development of heart disease. Instead of fried foods, try baking, grilling, or roasting your favourite dishes to reduce the amount of unhealthy fats.
Processed meats like bacon, sausages and hot dogs, are high in saturated fats and cholesterol. These fats can increase our LDL cholesterol levels and raise our risk of heart disease. Instead of processed meats, try lean meats like chicken, fish, or turkey. If you must have processed meats, choose low-fat or reduced-fat options.
You might be surprised to see sugar on this list – after all, high cholesterol is often associated with animal fats. But, there are a number of ways the sweet stuff can leave us with high LDL cholesterol, and our increasingly-high sugar intakes have been directly linked to the rise in cases of high cholesterol. This is because excess sugar causes our livers to produce higher levels of LDL cholesterol, along with raising our triglyceride levels – these are the fats stored in our blood which increase our risk for heart disease. Much like cholesterol, triglycerides can’t be dissolved in our blood, leaving our arteries vulnerable to damage – this happens when the triglycerides travel through our vascular system, raising our risk for stroke, heart attacks and atherosclerosis. But with the average Aussie downing 17 teaspoons of sugar a day, many of us are at risk for soaring cholesterol levels. That’s a pretty good reason to cut down on that sweet white stuff!
Processed baked goods
Baked goods, such as cakes, cookies and pastries, often contain high amounts of saturated and trans fats. These fats can raise our LDL cholesterol levels and contribute to the development of heart disease. Instead of baked goods, try snacking on fresh fruits, vegetables or nuts, which are healthier options and can help to reduce our LDL cholesterol levels.
Red meat, such as beef, lamb, and pork, is high in saturated fats, which can raise our LDL cholesterol levels. Instead of red meat, try leaner meats like chicken, turkey, or fish. You might even consider switching to protein and iron-rich legumes like chickpeas, mung beans and lentils.
Join us for the 8-Week Program and we’ll help you change the way you look at food – and that doesn’t mean you have to follow restrictive diets or miss out on your favourite foods; we believe you can still enjoy delicious food without jeopardising your health. You might even consider gifting your mum with the program! With celebrity chef Sarah Glover on our panel of experts, you’ll have an array of fun recipes at your fingertips, along with our own exclusive armoury of simple, tasty and healthy recipes for everything from daily meals to impressive entertaining. We know it can be hard to stick to your health goals – especially when you’re trying to manage it alone. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
- 90+ member-only recipes.
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- Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
- Exclusive content from our panel of experts.
So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to join. We’d love to help you get started on your health journey. Sign up HERE today!