Having high cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease. Click through this slide show to see the eating mistakes you’re making and how to choose foods that lower cholesterol.
You’re not eating healthy fats
If your doctor says you have high cholesterol, it means the LDL reading (bad cholesterol) is building up and may cause blockages in your arteries. A healthy cholesterol reading from a blood test is less than 200 mg/dL.
‘While it used to be thought that eating cholesterol-rich foods would raise blood cholesterol levels, we now know that consuming too many saturated fats and not enough unsaturated, heart-healthy fats is what actually affects blood cholesterol levels the most,’ says Sarah-Jane Bedwell, RD, LDN, host of Cooking with Sarah-Jane.
You choose the fattiest steak on the menu
Guilty of always ordering the T-bone or rib eye? Swap those foods high in cholesterol out for a cut of beef that’s better for your heart. To reduce the level of saturated fats you consume, look for lean cuts of meat, suggests Bedwell. She says there are 38 cuts of beef that are lean—key words to look for include ‘loin,’ ‘sirloin,’ or ’round.’
You love fried foods, baked goods, and packaged foods
Many of these foods contain trans fats, which can increase bad cholesterol levels and lower good cholesterol levels. While you can search for ‘trans fats’ on the nutrition label, according to U.S. labeling rules, if a food contains less than 0.5 grams per serving, it can be labeled as 0 on the packaging.
Your diet lacks soluble fiber
If your LDL levels are already high, eating foods rich in this type of fiber, such as beans, lentils, whole grains, oats, fruits, and veggies can help to lower your levels.
You toast more than most
Drinking too much alcohol can raise your cholesterol. Men should have no more than two alcoholic drinks per day, and women only one. And better cholesterol is only one of the many good things that’ll happen to your body if you cut back on alcohol.