Have you ever been diagnosed with high levels of cholesterol and wondered which of the foods contain cholesterol? To be able to answer this question, we need to know what exactly is cholesterol and how it affects the human body.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a substance like waxy-fat found in each and every cell of the human body. Not only having cholesterol is entirely normal, but it is also used to produce cell membranes and a few vital hormones, which is why it is a significant part of a healthy body.
Cholesterol is of two types and each is based on the type of protein transporting it.
Bad cholesterol that is LDL – low-density lipoprotein deposits extra fat in your body around the arteries which are detrimental for the health. This thick deposit can clog the arteries and cause atherosclerosis.
On the other hand, “good” cholesterol which is HDL – high-density lipoprotein transports HDL to the liver in order to dispose of it. According to the studies, the risk of heart attack due to cholesterol is reduced if a person has high levels of HDL.
How do you get Cholesterol?
You get cholesterol from two sources. Some of it is made by the body in the liver, and the remainder is found in animal products that we eat such as eggs, poultry, meat, whole milk, butter, cheese, and fish. Foods rich in saturated fats also cause the body to make more cholesterol. An increase in cholesterol is sometimes also the result of consuming high levels of saturated fats.
As known by many people, the human body needs cholesterol only to a limited extent as high cholesterol levels may cause various diseases. Therefore, it is essential to cut down on foods that give you excessive levels of cholesterol.
However, a much clever approach is to avoid foods that contain saturated fats instead of cholesterol. Since saturated fats are the ones that affect how the liver handles cholesterol.
Eating food with a high amount of saturated fat will result in high cholesterol levels in your body. This is why replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats will save your heart from diseases associated with cholesterol. Organizations like American Heart Association (AHA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also agree.
That being said, saturated fats mainly occur in animal and dairy products like milk. Contrarily, unsaturated fats are mostly found in olives, nuts, plants, fish, and vegetable oils. Unsaturated fats can also help to break down bad cholesterol by allowing the liver to absorb fats at a faster rate.
The answer to what foods contain saturated and unsaturated fats has been answered. But the more important question is which of the following foods contain cholesterol?
Which Foods Contain Cholesterol?
Some of the foods are the following:
Full Fat Dairy Foods
These include dairy foods that are rich in cholesterol, cheese, cream, milk, and yogurt. Even though they are highly nutritious, at the same time, they’ve high levels of cholesterol and saturated fats. According to a source, cheese contains 70mg of cholesterol per 200 calories.
Animal fats include butter, ghee, margarine, and spreads made from animal fats.
Red meats tend to contain more cholesterol and saturated fat than other meats. These include pork, lamb, and beef. This can contribute to an increase in an already high cholesterol level according to the American Heart Association website.
Fatty meat and processed meat products
Processed meats, like sausages, ham, hot dogs, and bacon are high-cholesterol products.
These foods do contain cholesterol but less saturated fats:
This includes lean meat such as liver, kidney, sweetbreads, heart, and tripe. The liver of a lamb consists of 430 mg cholesterol per portion, and the liver of a pig has 260 mg of cholesterol per portion. On the other hand, a lamb’s heart has 267mg of cholesterol per portion.
Sea Food like prawns, crabs, squid, cuttlefish, and octopus.
Even though eggs contain around 481mg cholesterol per 200 calories, due to low saturated fats amount, it is believed this is not as detrimental if taken in moderation.
As mentioned, the liver is lean meat that is high in cholesterol but low in saturated fats. The liver is also rich in vitamins and minerals such as zinc and copper. Since Vitamins A’s amount is too high in the liver, it is best not to eat it. The liver is also not suitable for pregnant women.
Instead of Red meats like beef and lamb, a person can consume healthy alternatives such as vegetable proteins, like beans, and chicken.
Moreover, as already stressed above, it is better to replace saturated foods with unsaturated foods.