Protein is vital for overall health and often referred to as the building blocks of the body. You need plenty of it, but it’s key to know how to manage your intake effectively. Keep reading to check out how protein can benefit your health, how certain types of high-protein foods can help lower cholesterol and what are the high cholesterol foods to avoid.
The health benefits of protein
Before we get down to the nitty gritty, it’s really important to state that any healthy diet has to be balanced. That means a combination of protein, carbohydrates and good fats. Talking specifically about protein, raising the levels you eat can improve your health in a number of ways.
- Body function
Protein is used to help build, develop and regulate nearly all functions in the body. It’s hugely important to consume so that you don’t get protein deficient, as this can cause big problems. We’ve looked at how important protein is for overall health and here are a number of other benefits:
- Improve concentration
- Boost energy
- Regulate blood sugar levels
- Aid concentration
- Support muscle and bone strength
- High protein, low cholesterol foods
There are a number of protein-rich foods that can help lower cholesterol, particularly when they’re swapped in for others that contain high levels of saturated fat. These include:
- Fish. Oily fish in particular. Trout, salmon, tuna and mackerel all contain high levels of Omega 3, which is one of the good fats and plays a big part in overall heart health.
- Poultry. We’re talking chicken and turkey, with the skin removed. Both of these meats are very low in fat, but be sure to stick to lean cuts, rather than thighs or legs.
- Nuts and seeds. A handful of nuts each day may help lower cholesterol levels too. Be careful though, they are very high in calories so definitely consume in moderation.
- Pulses. Swap out your white pasta and rice for beans and lentils for an extra protein kick. Not only that, they are full of fibre so try to get at least one serving in per day.
- Supplements. In particular whey. Not just great at providing high levels of protein, whey has also been shown to help lower blood pressure, give the body an anti-oxidant boost, regulate weight and reduce inflammation, which can be a huge contributory factor towards high cholesterol.
- High cholesterol foods to avoid
Needless to say, there are a number of foods you want to give a miss if you’re trying to lower cholesterol, or just eat healthily in general. There’s a saying that goes, ‘a little of what you fancy is fine’ and this is so true; however, sometimes you have to just cut things completely. There are a number of protein-rich high cholesterol foods you should be avoiding and they include:
- Full fat cheese
The fats in these products can all play a major role in elevating cholesterol levels. If your levels are high it’s best to cut them out completely (under guidance of your medical professional of course), but there are lower fat or vegetarian options you can try if not.
There you have it, a solid overview of why protein is so important, how you can eat healthy proteins and some of the high cholesterol foods that are best avoided. Now that you know your proteins, start eating them the right way!