What foods cause high cholesterol?

Heather Georgoudiou September 08, 2020

If you’ve been told you have high cholesterol you may be wondering what foods to avoid to lower your cholesterol. Check out the list of 10 foods that can cause high cholesterol and how to substitute them with other foods to help you reach your cholesterol goal. 

First, what is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy-fat-like substance that’s in every cell in the body. Your body needs a certain amount of cholesterol to create cell membranes and bile acids for digestion.

There is “good” heart-healthy cholesterol (HDL) that absorbs the extra cholesterol in your system and transports it to the liver where it’s flushed from the body. And then there is “bad” cholesterol (LDL) that contributes to plaque buildup, which clogs your arteries and can increase your risk for heart attacks and strokes.

Limit or avoid these foods, which are mainly found in animal-based products and can cause high cholesterol.

1. Red Meat

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

2. Whipped Cream

    Made with whole milk, whipped cream is loaded with fat.

3. Butter

    Use sparingly and replace in recipes with heart-healthy oils like olive oil.

4. Processed Meats

    Bacon, pepperoni and pork sausage are all high in sodium and fat.

5. Cheese

    Choose cheeses lower in cholesterol like goat cheese, parmesan, and blue cheese, or go for the low-fat options.

6. Fried Foods

    French fries, fried chicken, onion rings, and other deep-fried foods are loaded with saturated fats and extra calories.

7. Microwave Popcorn

    Choose unsalted and butter–free popcorn. Get plain popcorn and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

8. Commercial Baked Goods

     Packaged donuts, cakes, and cookies are usually loaded with fats and have calories. 

9. Macaroni & Cheese

    The main ingredients, whole milk, butter, and cheese are loaded with unhealthy fats. If you are going to indulge then make homemade mac and cheese and use 1% milk and reduced-fat cheese.

10. Egg Yolks

     Opt for egg whites which are cholesterol-free.

Making small changes to limit the intake of these foods that cause high cholesterol will help prevent health challenges in the future.

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Track Your Cholesterol with Each Blood Donation

Each time you donate blood you will get an overall non-fasting cholesterol screening during your pre-donation wellness check-up. About 36 hours after your donation you can get your cholesterol results through the OneBlood Donor Portal. This can help you monitor your overall cholesterol number and alert you if your cholesterol is high, indicating you may need to check-in with your doctor. Schedule your donation today.

Carlo’s Cholesterol Story

Carlo donated blood and platelets with OneBlood for quite some time, but during one of his donations, a phlebotomist told him his platelet bag didn't look right. He later got a letter that his cholesterol was very high.

The following week, I donated platelets again and the phlebotomist noticed that his platelets looked extremely thick. He was then told his cholesterol was over 400 even though he felt fine, looked great, was thin, and had a healthy appetite. 

But after seeing his doctor, he learned he had diabetes and was at risk for a stroke or heart attack.

According to his doctor, diabetes is a silent killer, you may look thin and awesome and healthy but inside it is killing you slowly.

Giving blood or platelets can help you keep track of your overall cholesterol numbers to assist you in a heart-healthy lifestyle. 

**Photo was taken before mask requirement. All donors and team members are required to wear masks. 

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Heather Georgoudiou

Heather Georgoudiou is OneBlood’s Digital Marketing Manager. She is a social media strategist and content creator with a passion for saving lives through the power of digital communications. 

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