What Causes High Cholesterol, Really
It might surprise you to learn that there isn’t one thing that causes high cholesterol. There are several different things that can cause high cholesterol and not all of them have simple or obvious fixes.
A Quick Explanation of Cholesterol
There are actually two types of cholesterol. One you want to be low and one you want to be high; these are also known as LDL and HDL respectively. When you have high LDL cholesterol you are in danger of serious health complications. But a high cholesterol HDL number is actually good for you and can help to keep the “bad” LDL numbers lower.
So what is it that causes high cholesterol? And, more importantly how can you avoid these things to stay healthier?
Yes, there are some foods that can cause high cholesterol and not in a good way. But there are also foods that you can eat to lower your bad cholesterol and increase your good cholesterol. You see your body already naturally creates cholesterol. So if you eat foods that are high in cholesterol you are putting too much into your body that can’t be processed. So let’s talk about the bad foods that cause high cholesterol first.
Saturated Fats- Foods that are high in saturated fats are considered bad cholesterol. But saturated fats can be confusing. This is not to say that all fats are bad for you. Far from it. Just like everything there are good fats and bad fats and even the good fats should only be taken in moderation.
Saturated fats most often come from meats. Beef, pork, dark meat poultry, lamb, veal, and organ meats are all high in saturated fats. High fat dairy products are also high in saturated fats. And surprisingly foods like coconut, cocoa butter, and tropical oils are also high in saturated fats. The American Heart Association recommends that saturated fats be no more than 7 percent of your daily calories, but if you are already dealing with high cholesterol less than that is even better.
Trans Fats- One of the new buzz words on the scene of what causes high cholesterol are trans fats. Trans fats occur when there is a chemical reaction in food due to food processing. Sounds gross, right? Well, it is.
These types of fats are actually much worse for you than saturated fats. They are created when hydrogen is added to oil. This process is done to increase the shelf life of products and can be found in most pre-packaged foods. Any time you see an ingredient of hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil you are eating something with trans fats in it. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 1 percent of your calories to come from trans fats, but for optimum health trans fats should be avoided.
Here is the true bummer; even if you cut out all of the foods that are going to increase your cholesterol levels you could still have high LDL cholesterol. Why? Well, you can thank your genes for that. Many people with high cholesterol do the right things and take care of their physical bodies, but have high cholesterol because it was passed down in their genetics. Often these people will need to add in supplements or prescription drugs to help lower cholesterol levels and keep them healthy.