Bad cholesterol and high blood pressure – both hurt your heart – are usually caused by diet and lifestyle. If you want to lower your bad cholesterol or blood pressure, go on a low-fat, high-fiber, low-sodium diet and avoid the following foods:
- Any kind of salt or sodium
- Marbled meat, liver or any kind of organ meat, and processed meats
- Canned fish (including tuna and sardines). If you “must” have this food, make sure you rinse it well to remove as much sodium as possible
- Salty snacks like chips, nuts, pretzels, or pork rinds
- Poultry with skin
- Fast food
- Full-fat dairy products, including butter
- Eggs (a couple per week is OK)
- Refined or packaged baked goods or snack foods
- Fried foods
- Pickled foods like herring, pickles, relish, olives, or sauerkraut
- Any food that contains trans fat
- Sauces or condiments like soy sauce, steak sauce, most salad dressings, ketchup and BBQ sauce.
- Any seasonings that include salt
Most meats are bad because of their fat content, and when you get into specific kinds and cuts of meats, there are other issues as well.
Full-fat dairy products are not good for you because of their fat content as well. When we ingest animal fats, our bodies tend to increase our production of cholesterol.
Eggs are good, but only when eaten in moderation. Just one egg yolk fulfills over half of your recommended amount of dietary cholesterol, according to the USDA.
Refining food strips the food of most of its nutritional value including, fiber, vitamins and other nutrients, and is usually more calorie-dense than whole foods. By eating refined foods, you are only eating empty calories.
Fried foods taste good, but they are terrible for you, especially foods fried in partially hydrogenated or trans fat oils. These oils lower good cholesterol and increase bad cholesterol. Some experts and studies refer to these oils as “the cigarettes” of food; there is nothing good about them. Too much consumption of oil is a recipe for gaining weight. Your body can only process so much fat, and fat helps increase your bad cholesterol.
Fast food is grossly filled with refined foods, sugars and salts. If you have high blood pressure or cholesterol, it is probably one of the worst things you can have. If you “have” to have it, make sure you balance the rest of you diet with whole foods, fiber, fruits and vegetables.