The 4 eating habits that raise bad cholesterol in the blood

Following a healthy diet, based on foods rich in fiber such as whole grains, seeds, nuts, legumes, and fruits and vegetables, is key to lowering high cholesterol.

Photo: Photo by Sander Dalhuisen on Unsplash / Unsplash

One of the most feared and recurrent diagnoses in medical consultation is high cholesterolIt is well known that it is a condition that increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and various cardiovascular diseases. Not surprisingly, studies have found that people with high levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol have between a 30 and 40% more likely to die from cardiovascular disease. The good news is that high cholesterol can be prevented and controlled through a healthy lifestyle and changes in eating habits. While much has been said about beneficial foods that serve as natural cholesterol regulators, it is just as important to be clear about the eating habits to avoid. Next 4 of the worst daily habits focused on diet, which significantly affect cholesterol and heart health.

1. Follow a diet rich in saturated fat

The body naturally produces the cholesterol it needs, therefore it does not need to obtain cholesterol from food. However, there are some foods that contain it; especially those with a high in saturated and trans fat They are considered to be some of the main triggers of high cholesterol. Therefore, one of the strongest medical recommendations focused on eating habits is to limit those foods that are rich in this type of fat, such as cheese, fatty and processed meats. On the contrary it is important choosing foods low in saturated, trans fat, sodium, and added sugarsIn addition, products rich in fiber play an essential role. Choose whole foods such as legumes, whole grains, plenty of fruits and vegetables. And it complements with healthy unsaturated fats, such as avocados, olive oil, fatty fish, nuts and seeds.

Hot dog
Hot dog. / Photo: Unsplash

2. Drinking too much alcohol

It is no secret to say that alcohol is one of the worst habits for health, even more so when consumed in excess. Not only is it bad for the liver, kidneys, brain, and nervous system: Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can increase bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Both are associated with an increased risk of heart attack when elevated. It is advisable to avoid alcohol and limit it to special occasions but especially in very moderate amounts: no more than two drinks a day for men and no more than one drink a day for women.

Alcohol consumption
Alcohol consumption / Photo: Unsplash

3. A high consumption of processed foods

Processed foods are one of the greatest enemies of health in many respects, they increase the risk of suffering from chronic diseases and are also one of the main causes of high cholesterol. The main reason is that these are foods that are anything but nutritious, are characterized by their high caloric value, contain added sugars, saturated and trans fats, sodium, preservatives and refined flours. These substances play a very negative role in heart health, since they tend to promote the accumulation of plaque in the arteries and thus increase the risk of various cardiovascular conditions. Additionally, these foods lead to weight gain which is also associated with heart complications and higher levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. In conjunction with a sedentary life, little physical activity and habits such as smoking, following a diet with a high consumption of ultra-processed foods is the worst combination to increase bad cholesterol. Avoid the consumption of industrial pastries, prepared and frozen meals, sweets, cold cuts, packaged soups, canned and fried foods, and canned foods.

Ultra-processed foods
Processed foods. / Photo: Shutterstock

4. Recurrent consumption of sweetened and light drinks

One of the worst mistakes for heart health is pretending to eat a healthy diet while consuming sweetened beverages such as regular and light sodas. Many people tend to consume them to give themselves a sweet taste and their effects in the diet tend to go unnoticed, however they are a latent danger; It is not for nothing that they are known to make up about half of the added sugars in the American diet. Although they shine for their sugar content: a can of regular soda contains about 35 grams of sugar (equivalent to almost nine teaspoons). According to the researchers, in the preparation of soft drinks it is usually used table sugar or high fructose corn syrup, to sweeten drinks. Both sources contain roughly equal parts of two simple sugars: fructose and glucose. Researchers believe that these sugars are harmful to the heart, in addition glucose increases the levels of the already existing blood, promoting insulin peaks, which could lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. In the case of fructose, this causes heart problems in more complex ways, since It can cause the liver to release triglycerides and “bad” LDL cholesterol into the bloodstream. Therefore, an excess of fructose can lead to fatty liver disease. In addition, its high consumption would produce an excess of uric acid in the blood, a fact associated with an increased risk of gout, which is a very painful inflammatory arthritis (in fact, inflammation is associated with heart disease).

Consumption of soft drinks. / Photo: Shutterstock

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