The health of your heart and brain is linked to your cholesterol levels.

When LDL (low-density lipoprotein, aka bad cholesterol, accumulates in the arteries and forms plaque, it blocks blood flow to the heart and brain. On the other hand, HDL (high-density lipoprotein), aka good cholesterol, picks up the bad cholesterol (LDL) and transports it to the liver to be processed.

Healthy cholesterol levels vary from person to person; therefore, always check with your doctor to know the optimal numbers for you.

When treating patients with high cholesterol numbers, a good cardiologist always tries to use diet as medicine first. Best Fitness Guru shares the four worst foods for high cholesterol and what to eat instead to keep your heart healthy:

Four worst foods for high cholesterol-What to eat to keep your heart healthy

# 1

Red meat

This category also includes burgers, ribs, steak, and pork chops. Fitness Buffhq (Best Fitness Guru) says: “If you can’t avoid red meat altogether, go for small amounts of lean meat.” And by small, he means a portion size of not more than two ounces – smaller than this is still better. If you can’t avoid it, eat red meat at the most, not more than once per week.

Keep in mind that poultry also has saturated fat; avoiding red meat doesn’t mean you can load up on chicken. 

What to eat instead: Fish and shellfish are good options. But shrimp is high in cholesterol, so don’t douse it with butter; it will provide you with a good amount of protein, not affecting much your blood cholesterol.

Some other lean protein options are white-fleshed fish like tilapia, cod, halibut, and bass.

# 2

Anything fried 

Frying food typically increases the calorie count, saturated and trans fats, and the foods absorb cholesterol during the frying process.

What to eat instead: Bake your food. Examples are baking potatoes, broccoli, kale, or any other food you like to a crisp when you’re craving crunch. Another alternative is an air fryer, which uses much less fat.

# 3

Processed meat 

The World Health Organization has classified processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, and salami as carcinogens. Processed meat also has high sodium and saturated fat.

What to eat instead:  Cut back drastically on these products and make them exceptional occasion treats.

# 4

Bakery products 

Mass-produced cakes, cookies, and pastries typically contain large amounts of fat (particularly saturated fats such as butter and shortening) and sugar. They, therefore, are dense in calories and low in nutrients. All these cause high cholesterol.

What to eat instead: Bake at your home and control the type and amount of fat and sugar you use. Consider using natural sugar like dates, raisins, etc.

About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq – Best Fitness Guru, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He Renu Bakshi - Fitness Buffhqpassed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, the USA, obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me, age is just a number!”

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