What are the Worst Foods for High Cholesterol?
Did you know that almost half the adult Malaysian population has high cholesterol? According to the Health and Morbidity Survey in 2015, 47.7% of Malaysians had high cholesterol levels. Worst, most people with high cholesterol were not aware of the problem with their cholesterol level until it’s detected through a blood test, as they did not show any symptoms.
This survey also estimated that 17.6% of Malaysians are obese, of this, 11.7% were those between 18 and 19 years old. It is very alarming that now non-communicable chronic diseases, hypertension, and high cholesterol level are happening to people with younger ages.
One of the causes of high cholesterol is our diet. So, here’s a list of foods you have to avoid if you have high cholesterol level.
- Potato Chips and Other Packaged Foods
Snacks or processed foods are highly consumed in Malaysia. Unfortunately these foods are high in cholesterol and sodium, which also leads to the increase rates of obesity and high cholesterol levels in our nation.
- Commercial baked goods/ Cookies and Sugary Treats
Yes, muffins, cookies, cakes, candies, donuts, and other sweetened packaged foods do taste delicious, but they’re not as “sweet” as they were after eating. Sugary foods will lead to weight gain and inflammation, which can eventually affect our cholesterol levels. Besides, some commercial baked goods are also filled with trans fat, that can also lead to high bad cholesterol levels, so it is healthier to choose home-baked goods.
- Fried Chicken or Anything Fried
Golden, crunchy and always so finger-licking good! Also one of Malaysians’ favourite dishes, but not the favor choice of our bodies. Deep frying causes food to lose water and absorb fat, making them more calorie dense. Most of the oils used are high in trans fat as well. Consuming foods that are high in trans fat will increase bad cholesterol levels in our body and lead to heart diseases.
Many of us thought that margarine is a healthy alternative to butter, but the truth is, margarine can also be loaded with cholesterol. Research showed that margarines can be worse than butter. This is due to the large amount of trans fat contained in margarine.
- Red Meat
Red meats like beef, lamb and pork tend to have higher cholesterol and saturated fat than other meats. This will lead to an increase of cholesterol levels after consumption and increased risk of heart disease. There are many healthy alternatives to red meat, including vegetable protein like beans, nuts, tofu, fish, chicken and eggs.
When it comes to lowering high cholesterol, it does not mean we have to avoid all high cholesterol foods. It is important to understand that everything is about moderation and balance. Our body requires fatty acid to function, so it is also important to consume foods that are high in omega 3 like salmon, nuts, seeds, beans and leafy greens to reduce the bad cholesterol levels and anti-inflammation.
Written by: Jasmine Lim
(Love Earth Nutritionist)
[Bachelor of Science Degree in Dietics (major) &
Food Science (minor) lowa State University, USA]