High cholesterol and heart disease are serious concerns for many people, and as much as we’d love to continue our teenage habits of eating anything and everything in sight, when diagnosed with these issues, monitoring what we eat becomes a top priority.
The body needs cholesterol to produce hormones, Vitamin D, and substances that help you digest food. Your body will make enough of the cholesterol it needs to perform these functions, but some of the foods you eat can add to your cholesterol levels, and too much can lead to health issues.
The following is a list of 10 of the worst foods to eat if you have high cholesterol.
Macaroni and Cheese
The typical mac-and-cheese ingredients — whole milk, butter, and cheese are loaded with saturated fats and cholesterol.
Once thought to be a healthy alternative to butter, margarine can be just as loaded with cholesterol.
“Since margarine was made from unsaturated vegetable oils, most people assumed it would be better for long-term health than butter, which was known to contain a lot of cholesterol and saturated fat. That assumption turned out to be wrong,” reads a Harvard School of Public Health study on fats and cholesterol.
Research showed that some forms of margarine specifically the hard stick margarines were worse for the heart than butter. This was because they contained large amounts of trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils.
While there are many health benefits to eating shellfish, those with heart disease or high cholesterol should avoid these foods.
Three ounces of lobster contains 61 mg of cholesterol, and that doesn’t include dipping it in melted butter, EverydayHealth.com writes.
Another all American favorite, summertime just wouldn’t be the same without a burger. The beef patty is so versatile that it can be loaded up with everything and anything, including onions, cheese, and bacon.
But you may want to think twice before heading to McDonald’s, as a Big Mac has 85 mg of cholesterol and a Classic Double with everything from Wendy’s is loaded with 175 mg of cholesterol, EverydayHealth.com says.
It’s golden, crunchy, deep fried, and an extremely popular dish.
While chicken is often a go to menu item for people looking to chow down, you might want to consider opting for a more heart healthly chicken dish.
Fried chicken can be packed with more cholesterol than a hamburger, EverydayHealth.com says.
French Fries are considered a high cholesterol food due to the presence of hydrogenated vegetable oils.
“Partially hydrogenating vegetable oils makes more stable and less likely to spoil. It also converts the oil into a solid, which makes transportation easier. Partially hydrogenated oils can also withstand repeated heating without breaking down, making them ideal for frying fast foods,” says the Harvard School of Public Health study on fats and cholesterol.
Ice cream isn’t the best snack choice for those with high cholesterol.
One scoop of every kid’s favorite frozen treat has more fat than a hamburger and more cholesterol than 10 glazed doughnuts, EverydayHealth.com says.
Red meats like beef, lamb, and pork tend to contain more cholesterol and saturated fat than other meats. This can contribute to an increase in your own cholesterol level and make already existing heart disease worse, according to the American Heart Association website.
A popular breakfast food, chicken eggs have a high cholesterol content.
While people with high cholesterol and heart disease were once told they should avoid eggs, the Mayoclinic.org says that eating four egg yolks or less on a weekly basis hasn’t been found to increase a person’s risk for heart disease.
It tastes great on a bagel or baked into a cake, but cream cheese is another food high in cholesterol.
One ounce of cream cheese can contain 27 mg of cholesterol, says HealthCentral.com.