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The conversations around the link between diet and high cholesterol and the best eating habits for cholesterol maintenance always seem to be changing, and it can be quite difficult to keep up with the evolution of scientific findings. To research published over the past five years suggest that your diet is one of the most important factors in preventing conditions such as heart disease and high cholesterol.

While people once believed that all that was needed to keep cholesterol high was to cut back on high cholesterol foods and abstain from red meat, the discussion around monitoring high cholesterol has since evolved. to better emphasize the importance of nutritious foods. and our daily eating habits as a whole. According to a study published by the American Heart Associationit is more beneficial to focus on improving your eating habits and the overall quality of your diet rather than individual foods.

So when it comes to making big changes to your daily eating habits, what does the latest research say? Read on to learn more, and for more healthy eating tips, check out 11 Low Calorie Superfoods to Eat Every Day.

It’s not about the cholesterol in your diet

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A common misconception about high cholesterol is that the main way to lower it is to eat less cholesterol in your diet. However, it is a bit more complicated than that.

According to Cleveland Clinic. So eating foods that are high in cholesterol may affect your levels somewhat, but the impact is probably not as big as you might think. Instead, the researchers concluded that it’s more about foods and eating habits that increase your body’s health. LDL cholesterol — aka “bad cholesterol” — and lowering your HDL cholesterol, or the “good” kind.

The CDC and the American Heart Association agree that foods high in saturated and trans fats can have a significant impact on your cholesterol levels, but the issue may be a bit more complex than that.

What you need to know about saturated fats

Red meat
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Arguably one of the biggest debates when it comes to diet and cholesterol is whether or not you should eliminate saturated fat from your diet.

The CDC claims that saturated fat can raise your cholesterol levels, so limiting foods high in saturated fat, like red meat and some dairy products, can help keep your cholesterol levels within a healthy range. While there is some truth to this point, there are also other perspectives to consider.

For example, a 2020 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that avoiding all saturated fats can cause you to miss out on some healthier sources of saturated fat. Their to research argues that people who avoid saturated fat altogether may be missing out on beneficial nutrients found in things like unprocessed red meat, whole dairy products, and even dark chocolate. As a result, they may end up consuming more empty sugars or refined carbohydrates from other food sources.

A review published in a 2021 issue of Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases found that eating red meat, which is often higher in saturated fat, may have a much weaker effect on cholesterol than previously believed. However, they also concluded that replacing certain red meats with plant-based meat may help lower cholesterol in some people.

Because of the prevalence of these varied and complex viewpoints, the The American College of Cardiology believes that while saturated fat may affect a person’s cholesterol levels, a greater focus on the overall quality of the diet and the consistent inclusion of more nutrient dense foods at each meal will likely prove more beneficial in the future.

Eat lots of vegetables

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A non-debatable point is the benefit of regularly consuming fruits, vegetables, and whole grains as part of a healthy, balanced diet and a way to ultimately manage cholesterol and lessen the possibility of raise it.

For example, a 2020 study published by the Environmental research and public health found that eating vegetables daily rather than once or twice a week had a positive effect on lowering LDL cholesterol. In the aforementioned review of Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseasesthe researchers also concluded that high-fiber foods, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains all had a positive effect in lowering cholesterol levels in the body.

Fibrous foods can help manage cholesterol in the body, but most Americans don’t get enough fiber on a daily basis, according to a study published by Nutrients in 2019. However, eating several servings of vegetables a day can be a good start.

As you can see, the subject of dietary habits and cholesterol can get a bit complicated, especially as new developments continue to emerge. While it’s important to keep up to date with the latest scientific research, remember that you can also ask your doctor any questions you have about maintaining cholesterol. Not only can your doctor help you navigate the complexities of any scientific study, but they can also suggest healthy eating strategies that support quality cholesterol levels based on your unique needs.