The 4 Worst Foods To Eat If You Want To Avoid High Cholesterol

How dangerous are these popular foods?

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Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance, found in human blood cells, which is essential to the production of hormones and the proper functioning of human cell membranes. Our bodies need a certain amount of cholesterol to build cells and digest food.

The human body typically produces all of the cholesterol we need in the liver, so it is unnecessary to make a purposeful attempt to consume more. When we eat foods derived from animals or those that trigger the liver to produce more cholesterol than we need, excessive amounts collect along the walls of arteries, causing blockages.


According to the American Heart Association, "A heart-healthy eating plan can help you manage your blood cholesterol level and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke." To help keep your cholesterol levels at bay and show your body some self-love, you should avoid eating foods that are high in cholesterol.

Plenty of foods contain cholesterol, and many of your favorites may even be among the worst when it comes to causing high cholesterol.

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Here are the 4 worst foods to eat if you want to avoid high cholesterol:

1. Cheeseburgers

Contrary to popular belief, cheeseburgers are not paradise. If you are like most Americans, you may grab a cheeseburger for lunch from your favorite fast-food restaurant every once in a while, but you may want to reconsider this choice the next time you decide to take a trip through the drive-thru. Fast food cheeseburgers typically contain anywhere from 35 mg to a whopping 222 mg of cholesterol.


high cholesterol Photo: Alena Haurylik via Shutterstock

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2. Ice cream

Ice cream is a delicious cold staple in 90 percent of U.S. households. However, according to EverydayHealth, this popular frozen dessert often contains more fat than a hamburger and almost double the saturated fat contained in a glazed donut. With that being said, you may want to skip the ice cream and opt for a fresh cup of fruit for dessert. Fruit is significantly lower in calories, is high in fiber, and helps to lower cholesterol.


3. Macaroni and cheese

The usual mac-and-cheese ingredients — butter, whole milk, and cheese — contain hefty amounts of LDL ("bad") cholesterol. But this delectable American dish does not necessarily have to be a high-cholesterol meal. Substitute evaporated milk for butter, use low-fat cheese, and switch to 1 percent milk.

By switching out those ingredients for healthier alternatives, your macaroni and cheese will contain half the calories and, more importantly, half the cholesterol.

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4. Rib-eye steak

Who doesn’t enjoy a nice, juicy steak after a long day? Unfortunately, even steaks that are cooked in olive oil and have the fat well-trimmed are extremely high in cholesterol. A typical 4-ounce steak contains 196 mg of cholesterol. If you’re having a hard time ditching the steak, consider more lean cuts of meat, such as flank, tenderloin, tip steak, or rump roast to reduce the amount of cholesterol that you consume.


You don’t have to be a nutritionist to realize that many foods are bad for your cholesterol, but many classic dishes are far worse than you may have anticipated.  Lowering your cholesterol is as easy as cutting out some of your favorite foods or simply reducing your intake. And when your cholesterol levels drop it can reduce your risk of stroke or heart attack.

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Christina Marino, DAOM, L.Ac, is an acupuncturist, homeopath, nutritionist, functional medicine practitioner, and intuitive energy healer whose practical and philosophical approach focuses on healing the whole person.