High cholesterol may seem harmless, as there are no signs or symptoms, but left uncontrolled this condition can be dangerous.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, up to 38 percent of Americans have high cholesterol, which puts them at risk for heart disease and stroke. While some people inherit high cholesterol, it is often the result of lifestyle choices.
Smoking, drinking alcohol, eating an unhealthy diet, and having a sedentary lifestyle can all increase the risk of high cholesterol. Taking action and changing your habits is often the first line of defense for lowering cholesterol naturally. If lifestyle changes alone don’t lower your cholesterol enough, your doctor may recommend medications to keep your cholesterol in a safe area.
Not smoking, cutting back on alcohol, and getting up and moving around are easy enough to understand (although actually doing it may prove difficult). One of the most confusing lifestyle changes is changing the way you eat. With all the diet myths and ever-changing research, you may not know where to start when it comes to lowering cholesterol with diet.
Fortunately, you can help lower cholesterol with your first meal of the day. Dietitians recommend it to you avoid these four worst breakfast habits if you have high cholesterol. Read on to learn more and to continue eating healthily, don’t miss out on these eating habits you need to follow if high cholesterol is in your family.
You get out of bed, put on some clothes and run out the door. Who has time to do something in the morning, let alone eat it? Skipping breakfast does more than just lead to starving mid-morning food cravings – it could even raise your cholesterol levels.
“Having breakfast has been shown to lower total and LDL cholesterol (our bad cholesterol),” he says. Kathryn Piper RDN, LD, NBC-HWC of age-defying dietician. In a 2020 meta-analysis, researchers found that the LDL cholesterol of people who skipped breakfast was on average 9.24 mg / dL higher than those who started the day with a meal.
And no, coffee doesn’t count as breakfast. Patricia Kolesa, MS, RDN, recommends having a small snack like yogurt parfait or oatmeal overnight with coffee if you don’t like the idea of a big meal first thing in the morning.
If carbs are stealing the show at breakfast, you may be missing out on one essential nutrient: protein.
“Blood sugar stabilization keeps you full longer, prevents casual and nighttime snacking, and supports healthy cholesterol levels by nourishing the adrenal glands and thyroid hormones,” he says. Lacey Dunn, MS, RD, LD, CPTauthor of Women’s guide to hormonal harmony and owner of Nourish Well Nutrition.
Traditional breakfast foods tend to be high in carbohydrates: toast, oatmeal, pancakes, fruit, yogurt, waffles … but there are plenty of opportunities to throw in a serving or two of protein.
Add eggs or egg whites to toast, mix powdered collagen in coffee, sprinkle protein powder on oatmeal, or make a turkey breast scramble to support healthy cholesterol levels, encourages Dunn.
“Choosing breakfast foods high in refined carbohydrates is one of the worst things you can do for your cholesterol and one of the easiest traps to fall into, as so many popular breakfast items fit this bill,” he says. Sharon Puello, MA, RD, CDN, CDCES.
A diet high in refined carbohydrates can increase triglycerides and the number of small LDL particles in the blood, both of which increase the risk of heart disease, explains Puello.
Starting the day with sugary cereals, donuts, pastries, pancakes, bagels, or any other refined carbohydrate can significantly affect your risk of heart disease. Researchers found that just one or two extra servings of refined carbohydrates a day can increase the risk of coronary heart disease by 10 to 20 percent. However, adding one or two servings of whole grains can reduce the risk by the same amount.
Choose whole grains and fruit over refined carbs and add a healthy serving of protein and fat to your breakfast to keep you full and satisfied.
While breakfast meats like bacon and sausage are fine at times, they shouldn’t grace your breakfast plate on a regular basis.
Processed meats are high in sodium and saturated fat which can raise blood pressure and cholesterol and increase the risk of some cancers, he explains. Lisa Andrews, MD, RD, LD Owner of Sound Bites Nutrition.
Choosing a processed vegetable meat alternative is not the solution. Many plant-based meat alternatives are high in saturated fat and sodium, just like their meaty counterparts.
To enjoy these foods without raising your cholesterol, look at the portion sizes and try to enjoy them only a couple of times a month rather than weekly.