High cholesterol: 7 unhealthy eating habits that raise bad cholesterol levels
High levels of bad cholesterol can raise risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Here are some of the eating mistakes you may be making on a daily basis.
Sedentary lifestyle has many pitfalls and combined with bad eating habits, it can spell disaster for health. That seemingly harmless indulgence of salty snacks and sugary treats even in small quantities every time the craving strikes, can put you at risk of raised bad cholesterol levels. The emerging evidence shows how sitting all day with no exercise and consumption of fatty food can increase risk of heart disease, diabetes, fatty liver and many other deadly lifestyle diseases. In the fast-paced lifestyle, it has become a norm for people to go for packaged food that can be cooked easily. Eating unhealthy and unmindfully in between the meals also contributes to increased cholesterol levels. (Also read: High cholesterol: 8 seasonal vegetables to lower bad cholesterol levels)
Not all cholesterol is bad and in fact it is important for our body to function well. Having healthy amounts of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol is important to lower risk of heart disease and stroke along with elimination of bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol from the body. It is the triglycerides with low HDL or high LDL that can increase risk for health problems like atherosclerosis, other metabolic diseases and even heart attack.
Thus, it's important to be cautious while indulging in fatty food as its excess consumption can cause many lifestyle diseases.
Avantii Deshpaande, Clinical Nutritionist shares the list of 7 bad eating habits that can increase LDL cholesterol:
1. Consuming bakery goods
Bakery goods include biscuits, cakes, pastries, puffs, cream rolls etc. These foods are prepared using vegetable fat i.e. vanaspati or margarine which are high in trans fats which in turn increase the bad cholesterol.
2. Eating processed meats
All frozen meats like sausages, salami, burger patties, bacon etc. are preserved by smoking or salting, curing or adding chemical preservatives. They are not just high in bad cholesterol but are also carcinogenic. It is best to avoid these completely.
3. Having fast food as snacks
Both Indian fast foods like pav bhaji, samosa, bhature and western ones like pizza, burgers etc are high in LDL cholesterol. It’s the use of ingredients that makes it high in saturated fats and also the making process of using stale ingredients, reheated oil for frying, high fat and high carbs ingredients and low fibre ones that make it harmful - not just in increasing cholesterol but also obesity, diabetes and PCOS.
4. Consuming less fruits and vegetables in the diet
Fruits and vegetables have high fibre which will help us to reduce the LDL cholesterol and increase the HDL cholesterol. Along with this, fruits and vegetables are also rich in phytonutrients that have antioxidant properties and remove the toxins out of the body and cleanse the vital organs like liver, intestine and kidney. Make sure you include 5 servings of fruits and vegetable in the diet.
5. Eating foods low in soluble fibre
Soluble fibre draws water from the gut which softens the stools and also can bind to the cholesterol and remove it from the body. Oats, peas, apple, guava, carrots, citrus fruits are rich in soluble fibre. Make it a point to include these in the diet
6. Indulging in processed foods
Any food which is available in packets and has a longer life on the shelf would mean that it has processing done on it to improve the shelf life. These foods are known to increase the bad cholesterol if the processing and the packing conditions are not standard operating process or follow any certifications like HACCP. Make sure you are vigilant to pick processed foods and use it minimum as possible
7. Having high sugar foods and desserts
Packed fruit juices, products having high fructose corn syrup, staples like white bread and or even desserts are sometimes not high in fat but in sugar. These sugars are converted to fat in the body and this in turn would increase the bad cholesterol.