9 Surprising Foods That May Raise Your Cholesterol
Is your diet heart-healthy? Even if you don't have any signs, symptoms, or family history of heart disease, it is important to eat a heart-healthy diet.
High blood cholesterol doesn't happen overnight; it develops over time. And it's a culprit to developing heart disease.
The CDC estimates that more than 35 million American adults are at risk for heart disease with cholesterol levels of 240 mg/dl or higher.
When it comes to cholesterol sabotage, foods high in saturated and trans fats top the list.
February is Heart Health Month and the perfect time to take a good look at your diet and see if you are eating too many of the wrong kinds of foods that can increase LDL (bad) cholesterol levels or lower HDL (good) cholesterol.
Familiar saboteurs include butter, lard, fast foods, junk foods, high-fat meats, cream, liver, and hidden trans fats in baked goods and processed foods such as crackers.
Because diet is so important to heart health, you can prevent or manage heart disease with your knife and fork. To help you improve your heart health, WebMD asked nutrition experts for cholesterol-raising foods that might be surprising and one that often gets blamed but doesn't deserve it.
Eggs Are Not The Enemy
If you think eggs belong on the avoid list, think again.
"Foods high in saturated fat can increase cholesterol more than foods high in cholesterol, like eggs," says Columbia University nutrition researcher Wahida Karmally, DrPH, RD.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends getting no more than 300 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per day and says an egg a day is OK for healthy adults.
People see the egg as an icon for high cholesterol because one large egg contains 186 mg cholesterol but only 1.6 grams (g) of saturated fat. Studies show that saturated fat is much worse than dietary cholesterol at raising blood cholesterol levels.
Red meat shares the same negative press. "There is a common misconception that red meat is not allowed, but if it is lean and the portion is 3 ounces, it is acceptable," says Karmally. The AHA recommends choosing trimmed, lean beef and eating no more than 6 ounces per day.