What Foods Should You Avoid to Lower Your Bad Cholesterol?

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People trying to lower their bad LDL cholesterol levels should avoid foods that contain trans fats and saturated fats. These include foods such as butter, fatty meats, eggs, milk, coconut oil and palm oil.

Not all cholesterol is bad. There are two main types of cholesterol: LDL and HDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is harmful and contributes to clogged arteries, according to Harvard Medical School. HDL cholesterol can be beneficial, as it helps prevent LDL cholesterol from building up in the arteries. High cholesterol levels usually refer to high LDL levels, which can cause long-term damage.

Diet is a helpful way to combat high LDL cholesterol. People can reduce this bad cholesterol by avoiding or reducing foods that boost LDL and eating more foods that reduce it.

Trans fats can boost LDL levels and reduce HDL levels. The American Heart Association recommends limiting trans fat consumption to a maximum of 1 percent of total daily caloric intake. Trans fat can go by other names, such as partially hydrogenated oil. It is not found in whole foods as it is a product of processing liquid oils into solid ones. Foods that contain trans fats include fast food, fried foods, packaged pastries, processed cookies and other processed foods.

Saturated fats can also boost LDL in the body. To reduce LDL, the American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat consumption to a maximum of 5 or 6 percent of total daily caloric intake. Saturated fats come from animal fats. Red meat, dairy, palm oil, coconut oil, poultry skin and eggs are high sources of saturated fats.

Foods that help reduce LDL in the body include fatty fish, nuts and vegetable oils, which are high in unsaturated fat, as well as soy, oatmeal, beans, strawberries, apples and eggplant.