Watch out! 7 foods that raise bad cholesterol

One of the most important reasons people need to eat healthy is because they need to keep their heart healthy–hence, the term “heart-healthy diet.”

There are many signs that the body is not getting proper nutrition: being overweight, feeling tired and having wrinkly skin to name a few. However, one of the telltale signs that the body is not being nourished properly is blood cholesterol levels.

Blood cholesterol comes in two forms: good HDL cholesterol and bad LDL cholesterol. Good cholesterol keeps the blood clean and the body processing hormones and cells at a normal pace. Bad cholesterol, however, creates waxy deposits in the arteries and veins that cannot dissolve and that can lead to the development of heart disease, a heart attack and even a stroke.

In addition to cigarette smoke, the main culprit of increased levels of bad cholesterol is a poor diet fortified in the wrong kinds of foods. This means a steady consumption of processed foods and junk foods. However, there are some other foods out there that may not immediately peak one’s cholesterol concern, but when eaten too much they can actually raise bad cholesterol levels. These include:

  • Chocolate: When eaten in excessive amounts, this sweet treat can raise LDL levels.
  • Whole-fat Dairy: While dairy products are indeed good for you, dairy products that are whole-fat often come with a generous serving of saturated fat that can clog up your arteries if consumed too often.
  • Mashed potatoes: Mashed potatoes can be dangerous because they are almost always more than just potatoes–they often include heaps of milk, butter, sour cream and even cheese, thus making them havens for bad cholesterol increasing saturated fat.
  • Movie Popcorn: Many people opt for popcorn as a snack at the movies, believing it to be a healthier option than candy or nachos. The problem is that movie popcorn is almost always dripping with a buttery topping loaded with saturated fat. A bad cholesterol ticking time bomb.
  • Added Sugars: The added sugars in processed and fast foods can send bad cholesterol levels soaring to new, unhealthy heights.
  • Fried Veggies: Veggies are good for you, right? Of course they are, but not when they are fried in butter–they then become saturated fat enemies. Try frying veggies in olive oil instead (preferably virgin olive oil).
  • Crackers: Many people see crackers as a healthy alternative to cookies, but unfortunately there is not much of a difference: crackers often contain just as much added sugars and other bad cholesterol boosters and their sweeter cookie counterparts.

The foods listed above are not always the first to come to mind when discussing bad cholesterol boosters. However, all of these foods can lead to an increase in LDLs and thus raise the risks for heart disease, heart attacks and even strokes. Hence, make smart choices when eating and make sure to always find a healthy food balance that will benefit the body.

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