The High-Cholesterol Foods List
1) Eggs: Yolks Particularly
This means all kinds of eggs, not just chicken eggs. So substituting duck or goose eggs instead is not a way around this.
Now, some clarification is needed here because eggs have long been at the center of controversy when it comes to their effects on cholesterol.
Over the years the public has been told various different stories about eggs – some experts say you shouldn’t eat any at all if you have high cholesterol.
Others say they’re actually good for your cholesterol levels, and many others are somewhere in between.
Here’s the thing: dietary cholesterol doesn’t have the same effect on blood cholesterol in everyone!
In other words, the same amount of dietary cholesterol (cholesterol in the food you eat) can affect blood cholesterol (the amount of cholesterol in your blood.
Which is what contributes to your risk of heart disease) differently in different people.
Put simply, the amount of ‘bad cholesterol’ you can eat is an individual thing.
So you may be able to get away with eating two egg yolks every day whereas for someone else.
That might cause their bad cholesterol to shoot through the roof very quickly.
In short, you need to discuss this with your doctor to determine if eggs are okay for you, and if so, how many and how often.
2. Steak – Heavy High Cholesterol Meat
This is another big culprit behind high bad cholesterol levels in many Western countries.
In countries like the United States people love their steaks and tend to have diets which are heavy on high-cholesterol meats and relatively low on foods that promote ‘good’ cholesterol.
Again, you can eat steak now and then depending on your own bad cholesterol levels.
But when you do eat it, you should make an effort to cut off as much of the fat as possible.
3. Organ Meats like Liver, Heart, Brain, etc.
While organ meat can be a great source of certain vitamins and minerals, such as iron. There is also a high concentration of cholesterol in most animal organs.
Liver in particular is a food you should try to avoid if you’re trying to lower your cholesterol levels.
4. Lamb – High in Cholesterol but Not as High as Beef
While it doesn’t contain as much saturated fat as some other red meats such as beef. Lamb does have a high cholesterol content.
For every 3-ounce serving of lamb you eat you’re taking in about 75 milligrams of cholesterol.
That’s about a third of the ideal daily cholesterol intake recommended by many doctors (around 200 milligrams).
In other words, a bit of lamb here and there is okay.
But you need to be careful to balance it with the rest of the food you’re eating throughout the day.
As long as the rest of your meals are low in cholesterol then you can get away with eating lamb and other red meats in moderation.
5. Butter and some Oils – the Silent Cholesterol Attack
Butter is a high cholesterol food which is something of a silent killer. Many people never consider the health implications of eating butter because it seems like such a relatively minor part of their diet.
The reality is the butter you spread on your toast and use for cooking can make a huge contribution to your cholesterol levels.
The same applies to certain cooking oils which contain saturated fats like palm oil.
Now, be careful if you want to substitute butter with margarine though – some margarine products contain trans fats rather than saturated fats.
Which actually stimulate the production of bad cholesterol inside your body.
Ideally you want to find spreads and cooking oil products which made from foods high in unsaturated fats.
Olive oil and olive oil based spreads are good examples.
6. Cream: A Real Cholesterol Bomb
While generally all dairy products in their raw forms are high cholesterol foods.
Cream is one you particularly have to watch out for.
There’s little point in switching from ice cream to healthy fruit salad desserts if you end up smothering them in cream anyway.
An average tablespoon of cream can hold around 15-20 milligrams of cholesterol.
If you use cream it becomes very easy to exceed you daily recommended intake for cholesterol after eating only a relatively small amount of food.
7. Shrimp: Another Ambiguous High Cholesterol Food
Like eggs, shrimp is one of those controversial high cholesterol foods – many doctors advise patients to stay away from it.
But there have been studies now which indicate it’s not actually bad for you despite the high cholesterol content.
Shrimp is often thought of as being relatively healthy compared to many meat options because of its low fat content.
But despite being relatively low in fat, shrimp is certainly high in cholesterol.
Studies have indicated that shrimp is not a hazard for high cholesterol patients because while it raises bad cholesterol.
It simultaneously raises good cholesterol so the effects cancel each other out.
That said, having a high level of cholesterol overall is not recommended.
If you’re a shrimp fan you’re best to discuss with your doctor whether it’s okay for you to continue eating shrimp – otherwise you’re best to just avoid it.
8. Duck: Okay in Small Quantities
It makes sense to assume that duck should be relatively low in cholesterol like similar meats such as chicken and turkey.
In small quantities duck isn’t particularly harmful.
But since it’s typically served as part of a large meal it’s easy to take in a large quantity of cholesterol from a duck meal.
This is the case regardless of whether the skin is removed.
It’s not unusual for a serving of duck such as one you might get at a Chinese restaurant to contain over 100 milligrams of cholesterol in the meat alone.
Not including cholesterol in gravies and cooking oils.
9. Whole Milk and other Full-Fat Dairy Products
Some doctors and nutritionists recommend people with high cholesterol to get rid of dairy products from their diet altogether.
This will depend on exactly how high your cholesterol levels are, but many people won’t have to go to quite such an extreme.
Dairy products provide many people with essential nutrients, such as calcium for strong bones.
There are other foods that can deliver these nutrients but dairy products are convenient and slot nicely into a well-rounded diet.
However, you do need to take steps to cut down your cholesterol intake from dairy by using low-fat or no-fat options.
You can also replace certain dairy products with soy-based products, which are lower in cholesterol.
Some soy-based products also contribute to your ‘good cholesterol’ levels.
Helping you lower your overall risk of heart disease and heart attacks.
10. Cakes, Cookies and Many Other Baked Goods
While it seems counter-intuitive at first that baked goods should raise cholesterol.
It’s obvious when you think about the ingredients typically used to make cookies and cakes.
They’re primarily made of animal-derived products – eggs, cheese, milk, cream and so on.
There are, however, certain cookies on the market which are made with ingredients specifically designed for high cholesterol sufferers.
Which won’t have a negative impact on your cholesterol levels and may even contribute to raising your good cholesterol.
Other Tips on High-Cholesterol Foods
You may eliminate a bunch of high cholesterol foods and get onto a low cholesterol diet and stick with it religiously.
Only to sabotage yourself through things that you don’t typically think of as ‘food.’
Drinking alcohol is a classic example of this.
Many people tend to leave their alcohol consumption out of their diet tracking.
This is a mistake, especially if you’re trying to restrict your cholesterol intake.
Once again moderation is key with things like alcohol.
Many studies have showed moderate alcohol consumption has a positive effect on cholesterol levels.
But binge drinking and excessive consumption has the opposite effect and puts you at greater risk of a vast number of health problems.
Moderate consumption according to many experts is around one glass of wine per day, maximum.
With careful planning it’s relatively easy to significantly reduce the amount of cholesterol you take in.
While still being able to enjoy your favorite high cholesterol foods in moderation.
Low Cholesterol Foods
According to a recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The average adult should not eat more than 300 MG of cholesterol daily.
The Centers also go on to recommend what sort of food a person should consider eating while following a low calorie diet.
Lean meat – Although meat tends to be one of the obvious foods high in cholesterol, not all meats are bad for you. Individuals following a low cholesterol diet should aim to consume around 8 ounces of lean meat and no more a day, suggests the Mountain States Health Alliance. Skinless chicken breasts, beef tenderloins and leg of lamb tend to be the best meats for a low cholesterol diet.
Fruit and Vegetables – There are not really any fruits or vegetables that contain cholesterol. However, it is advised you stick to fresh fruit and vegetables as oppose to canned as these can be high in sugar and salt.
Crackers – Low fat crackers make ideal snack food for when you are feeing hungry but it isn’t quite time for your next meal. Crackers with a sesame seed topping are even better. As the seeds are known to increase HDL levels.
It is possible to enjoy a treat once in a while.
Especially if your treat is a low-fat or light option. For example, low-fat cakes, cookies and muffins are alright in moderation.
Tests for High LDL Cholesterol
There are several different tests doctors use to check for high LDL cholesterol levels;
- Direct LDL Test – This test is purely to measure your LDL levels and does not test or check anything else. This test can be carried out at any time of the day, regardless of whether you have eaten or not.
- Fasting Cholesterol Test – This type of test measures HDL and LDL cholesterol, as well as fats and something known as triglycerides.
- Simple Cholesterol Test – This is the test most commonly carried out by the doctor in his surgery, the results of which will determine whether the person requires any further testing. This test is basic and simply measures cholesterol level, whether you have eaten before the test or not will have no bearings on the results.
Is High LDL Cholesterol Really Symptomless?
Doctors find that high cholesterol is often difficult to diagnose, especially in young people as there are usually no really symptoms to alert the individual to a problem.
There are a couple of symptoms people may notice, but again these are not common.
- Pain – Although fairly rare, it is possible for people with high cholesterol to experience pain in their legs and arms. This is usually due to a build up of cholesterol in the blood, which is then causing a problem in the arteries.
- Chest pain – Again, as a result of a build up of cholesterol in the arteries, individuals with high cholesterol may find they experience pain their chest, also called angina pectoris. If you do experience pain in your chest area, you should seek advice from a doctor immediately. Do not assume it is a result of high LDL cholesterol.
- Heart Problems – In cases of extremely high LDL cholesterol, there is the risk that the individual will suffer from severe heart palpitations. This, coupled with hardening of the arteries can lead to heart attacks and even death.
- Skin problems – In a small number of cases, high LDL levels can cause changes in a person’s complexion – with small fatty pockets forming on the skin.
If you have any concerns about your cholesterol level.
Regardless of whether you have suffered from any symptoms or not, you can consult with your doctor who will organize the appropriate tests.
Life after High Cholesterol?
Unfortunately, for a small number of people the only way they can control their LDL cholesterol level is by taking medication, known as statins, for the rest of their life.
However, it is possible in the majority of cases for individuals to reduce their cholesterol through lifestyle changes on their own.
Avoiding high cholesterol foods and taking part in regular exercise will help maintain a healthy cholesterol level.
As well as improve an individual’s overall health.
Is Low Cholesterol Harmful?
We are all aware of the potential harm that high cholesterol levels can cause.
But what, if any, are the risks posed by low cholesterol?
According to the Mayo Clinic, individuals who suffer from very low cholesterol levels are at risk of developing a variety of serious health conditions.
A low total cholesterol level has been linked to depression, cancer and other disorders.
While high LDL cholesterol is not a good thing, if it drops to a worryingly low level a doctor may need to assess the person to determine how they can raise their cholesterol to a normal level.
As with high LDL cholesterol levels, diet can have a huge impact on a person who is believed to have low cholesterol numbers.
Giving up smoking and taking regular exercise is also recommended.
Eating foods high in fat is NOT recommended, because even though cholesterol levels are low eating too much fat can still cause a number of health problems.
Here are a few ways to raise HDL cholesterol healthily and naturally:
According to a study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, individuals who drank around three cups of fresh orange juice a day significantly raised their HDL cholesterol levels over the course of a month.
While this may not be a guaranteed fix, the evidence to support the journal’s findings is convincing.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also completed a study on cholesterol involving eggs.
Their findings revealed that the average person suffering from low cholesterol could significantly raise their HDL levels by adding an egg a day to their diet.
According to the journal, of the individuals studied 78-percent showed an increase in HDL cholesterol levels after three months.