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What Foods Cause High Cholesterol?

Sara Martinez
April 25, 2023

Have you ever been told you have high cholesterol? You might be wondering what that means, what causes high cholesterol, and what you can do to lower it. What even is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s in every cell. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs. Any excess it picks up from food can build up and clog your arteries. Having high cholesterol can increase your risk for heart attacks and strokes.

Making small changes to your food choices can help lower your cholesterol. Check out these ten foods that cause high cholesterol and see easy swaps for healthier alternatives.

An oven-roasted chicken with vegetables, healthy low cholesterol protein alternatives

${1} Red Meat

Beef, lamb, and pork – these are high in saturated fats and contain more cholesterol. Swap these out for healthy proteins like beans, chicken, and fish.

${2} Whipped Cream

It might be a delicious dessert, but whipped cream is made with whole milk and loaded with fat. Try making your own with Greek yogurt, coconut milk, or cashews and almonds instead.

${3} Butter

Make sure to use sparingly and replace in recipes with heart-healthy oils like olive oil.

${4} Processed Meats

These include bacon, pepperoni, and pork sausage. All are high in sodium and fat. Alternatives include BBQ chicken with skin removed, canned tuna or salmon, tofu, or even jackfruit! 

${5} Cheese

You don’t have to take cheese out completely, but choose alternatives. Goat cheese, parmesan, and blue cheese are lower in cholesterol. Or go for the low-fat options.

Bananas, apples, and granola, healthy low cholesterol snack alternatives

${6} Commercial Baked Goods

They might be easy on-the-go snacks, but try limiting them. Packaged donuts, cakes, and cookies are usually loaded with fats and calories. Satisfy your sweet tooth instead with apples, bananas, granola with raisins, or almonds. 

${7} Fried Foods

French fries, fried chicken, onion rings, and other deep-fried foods are loaded with saturated fats and extra calories. Choose baked or air-fried options instead.

${8} Microwave Popcorn

Switch up this tasty snack for unsalted and butter–free options. You could also try plain popcorn sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

${9} Macaroni & Cheese

The main ingredients, whole milk, butter, and cheese are loaded with unhealthy fats. Instead, indulge in homemade mac and cheese with 1% milk and reduced-fat cheese.

${10} Egg Yolks

Opt for egg whites which are cholesterol-free! 

Avoiding these foods is sure to help you lower your cholesterol and prevent health challenges in the future. 

Looking for an easy way to track your cholesterol? OneBlood provides all blood donors with a free pre-donation wellness check-up, including a cholesterol screening. About 36 hours after your donation, your results will be available through your donor portal. Start tracking today!

OneBlood donor, Carlo, and his daughters with OneBlood Phlebotomists

Carlo and his daughters with OneBlood Phlebotomists

Giving blood can help you keep a heart-healthy lifestyle, and it can even save your life. Just check out Carlo’s story! He’s a regular platelet donor. His phlebotomist team noticed his platelets looked off and suggested he see his doctor. He says, “If I was not told about my high cholesterol level, I would not have seen my doctor for my annual physical. OneBlood saved my life.

Sara Martinez, OneBlood Digital Marketing Specialist

Sara Martinez

Sara Martinez is a Digital Marketing Specialist at OneBlood. From creating strategic online campaigns to writing engaging stories, she is passionate about raising awareness to inspire others and helping make a difference in our community. #ShareYourPower

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