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What should I do if my cholesterol is high? foods to avoid with high cholesterol

high cholestrol


Cholesterol is a type of fat  that is essential for proper functioning of the body. Cholesterol is produced by the liver, and can also be obtained from some foods. It is important to get your cholesterol levels regularly checked through blood tests to effectively monitor and manage your cardiovascular health.

Functions of cholesterol:

  • It is responsible for the formation of cell membranes,
  • production of hormones
  • Plays an important role in aiding the digestion of fats.

There are different types of cholesterol, classified based on the lipoproteins they carry in the blood:

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL): 

Often referred to as "bad" cholesterol, LDL carries cholesterol from the liver to the cells. If too much LDL cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can deposit in the walls of the arteries, forming plaque and contributing to atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries).

High-density lipoprotein (HDL):

Known as the "good" cholesterol, HDL helps remove LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream and transport it to the liver for elimination.

When total cholesterol levels are too high, it can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke. Increased cholesterol levels are often influenced by factors such as genetics, diet, physical activity and overall lifestyle.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking can help manage cholesterol levels. Even after all this, if the cholesterol level does not reduce then the doctor may prescribe medicines to control the cholesterol level.

High cholesterol can be managed through a combination of lifestyle changes, and medications. Here are some general recommendations, following which you will definitely be able to reduce your high cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol levels

Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) of blood. The American Heart Association (AHA) provides general guidelines for healthy cholesterol levels. Keep in mind that individual health conditions may vary. Here are general recommendations:

total cholesterol:

Desirable: Less than 200 mg/dL

Borderline high: 200-239 mg/dL

High: 240 mg/dL and above

LDL Cholesterol (Bad Cholesterol):

Optimal: less than 100 mg/dL

Near optimal/above optimal: 100-129 mg/dL

Borderline high: 130-159 mg/dL

High: 160-189 mg/dL

Very high: 190 mg/dL and above

HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol):

Low: less than 40 mg/dL (for men), less than 50 mg/dL (for women)

Higher levels are generally better.


Normal: less than 150 mg/dL

Borderline high: 150-199 mg/dL

High: 200-499 mg/dL

Very high: 500 mg/dL and above

What should I do if my cholesterol is high?

 First you have to change your lifestyle

Diet: Eat a heart-healthy diet low in saturated and trans fats. Increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.

Exercise: Continue to engage in regular physical activity, such as brisk walking, jogging, yoga, exercise, swimming or cycling. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.

Weight management: If you are overweight, losing weight can help improve your cholesterol levels.


Quit smoking:

If you smoke, quitting can have a positive effect on your cholesterol levels and overall heart health.

food that contain Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) Cholesterol (Bad Cholesterol):

elevated levels of bad cholesterol can contribute to the formation of plaques in arteries, leading to atherosclerosis. 

Saturated and Trans Fats:

Fatty cuts of red meat.

Full-fat dairy products like whole milk, cheese, butter.

Processed and fried foods.

Commercially baked goods often contain trans fats.

Dietary Cholesterol:

 it can still contribute to elevated levels in some individuals. 

Organ meats such as liver, kidney.

Shellfish shrimp, lobster.

Fried and Processed Foods:

Foods that are deep-fried may contain unhealthy fats and contribute to elevated LDL cholesterol.

Fast Food and Junk Food:

food that contain High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) Cholesterol (Good Cholesterol):

HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol, helps remove Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) from the bloodstream, transporting it to the liver for elimination. Increasing HDL levels can be beneficial for heart health.

Fatty Fish:

Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can contribute to higher HDL levels.

Nuts and Seeds:

Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and other nuts and seeds contain healthy fats, which can support higher HDL cholesterol.

Olive Oil:

Olive oil contain monounsaturated fats, that have been associated with increasing HDL cholesterol.


Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats and can be good for heart-healthy.

Whole Grains:

Whole grains like oats, barley, quinoa, and whole wheat contain soluble fiber, which can contribute to higher HDL levels.


Beans, lentils, and other legumes are good sources of both soluble fiber and plant-based protein.

Fruits and Vegetables:

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables provides antioxidants and other nutrients that support overall heart health.

Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Besides fatty fish, other sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and certain algae-based supplements.

Regular Exercise:

Physical activity has been shown to increase HDL cholesterol levels. 

Home remedies

Some people try natural remedies to control cholesterol levels. These may include consuming foods containing additional plant sterols or stanols, garlic supplements, omega-3 fatty acids, and soluble fiber. Although the effectiveness of these treatments is still a subject of research, it is important to discuss them with your healthcare provider.

Fruits and Vegetables:

Rich in fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients, fruits and vegetables contribute to overall heart health.

Whole Grains:

Choose whole grains such as oats, barley, quinoa, and whole wheat. These contain soluble fiber that can help lower LDL cholesterol.

Lean Proteins:

lean protein sources, such as poultry, fish, legumes, and plant-based proteins are good for heart health.

Nuts and Seeds:

Nuts such as almonds, walnuts and seeds (flaxseeds, chia seeds) are sources of healthy fats that can benefit heart health.

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