Cholesterol is fat found in the blood necessary for the proper functioning of cell membranes and hormone production. While the human body manufactures the required cholesterol in the body, there are some foods high in cholesterol, trans fats and saturated fats that increase blood cholesterol levels and consequent risk of heart disease.
As cholesterol exists only in animal food products, vegans have lower cholesterol levels than non-vegans. Foods high in cholesterol should be avoided but if it is not possible, maintaining moderation and balance is a healthy option.
1. Egg yolks have the highest cholesterol levels. It is, however, a relatively healthy choice if you know to keep to a limit and avoid loading up cholesterol from other food sources if you have an egg for breakfast.
2. As cholesterol is manufactured in the liver, the liver is not only iron-rich and good for you, it is also high in cholesterol. So avoid this high-cholesterol food if you have high cholesterol and instead, eat lean meat cuts.
3. Cheese makes a tasty addition for any dish. It is a vegetarian source of protein and calcium but is high in cholesterol. Of the different varieties of cheese on the market, Port de Salut cheese has the most cholesterol while cream cheese, fontina, Gouda, gruyere and cheddar cheese too are high in cholesterol.
4. The butter used for making most cookies, cakes, bread and muffins is high in cholesterol. English muffins are made without saturated fat and have no cholesterol. But the muffins you can buy or bake at home have lots of fat in a single serving. If you want a muffin, eat one with whole-wheat flour. It has higher fiber, less fat and is low in cholesterol and is thus a better choice.
5. All that fast food you like, especially the breakfast fast foods like ham, cheese and egg biscuits and egg and sausage biscuits are laden with cholesterol.
6. Processed meats like duck, lamb and sausage are full of cholesterol. The actual amount of cholesterol in these meats depends on the cut used and the amount of fat added during processing.
7. Caviar is a common spread for breads in East and Northern Europe, which is, however, packed with cholesterol.
8. While some seafood is good for health, some is filled with cholesterol. Shrimp, including prawns, and lobster are not advised for those suffering from high cholesterol as these are high cholesterol foods.
If you want seafood, it is better to stay away from the butter dishes. A better and healthier option is broiled seafood instead of fried. Moreover, be particular about the portion of seafood you consume as double the portion signifies double the cholesterol.
9. Oil packed fish, which is good for the heart, unfortunately contains some cholesterol. So it is important that you eat this fish in moderation to prevent increased cholesterol levels and possible heart problems.
10. Ice cream always beats cookies and brownies for dessert. However, a single cup of ice cream has more fat than a hamburger and more cholesterol than 10 glazed doughnuts.Instead of eating ice cream for dessert, eat a cup of fresh fruit. Fruits are low in calories but high in the fiber, nutrients and vitamins that help lower cholesterol.
11. While chicken is considered a low-fat meat choice, depending on the way you cook it, it can find a place in the list of high-cholesterol foods. A chicken leg with the skin has more fat and cholesterol than you find in a cup of ice-cream or a hamburger.Retaining the chicken skin makes chicken a high-cholesterol food so remove the skin before cooking. Moreover, as dark poultry meat has more fat than white poultry meat, opt for skinless chicken that is not dark.
12. All those snacks you nibble on when hungry, like French fries, crackers, onion rings and cookies, are all filled with trans-fats. As most of the things we love to eat are bad for cholesterol levels, it is better to find out the amount of fat and cholesterol in the snacks by reading labels. You can cook smart, order wisely or eat smaller portions to reduce your consumption of high cholesterol foods.