You probably wouldn’t be that surprised if someone were to tell you that it would be a bad idea to make French fries and fried chicken a major staple of your diet. Fried foods, while being quite tasty, are also packed with excess fat, sodium, and you guessed it: cholesterol! Research has shown us that the human body is capable of producing its own cholesterol, so a diet that is loaded with cholesterol could be putting you at risk for heart disease.
According to the American Heart Association, there are two things that people should be looking to limit in their diet if they are trying to reduce their chances of developing high cholesterol: trans fats and saturated fats. Foods that are baked or fried tend to have a lot of trans fats, while saturated fats are found in many of the food products that we get from animals. It is important to try and regulate your own dietary cholesterol intake, since there can be no warning signs for this medical condition. If you’re still not sure which foods you should be on a look out for, here is a list of ten high cholesterol foods to limit or avoid when possible.
1) Eggs or Egg Yolk
According to nutritionists, egg yolk possesses the most cholesterol of any one single food item (about 1234mg per 100 gram serving). However the key to remember here is that the egg yolk possesses all of the cholesterol that is found in eggs, and they can be filtered out if need be. Regardless, if eaten in moderation, the American Heart Association has stated that eggs can be part of a heart-healthy diet. Just remember that if you plan on eating eggs, then you may have to limit your cholesterol intake elsewhere.
2) Cheeseburgers and Other Fast Foods
As a culture, Americans sure do love their fast food. You’d be hard-pressed to drive anywhere without running into some fast food mega-chain, and many intersections have them at every corner. Fast food restaurants have become extremely popular, because they provide an easy option for chow-time that is quick and cheap. However, you need to remember that a single Classic Double from Wendy’s contains nearly 200mg of cholesterol and a Big Mac from McDonald’s is not that much better. If you do decide to stop in for one of these burgers, you may want to consider skipping on the extra fries and shake.
3) Macaroni and Cheese
This is another classic American comfort food, and a favorite for many families and their kids. However, let’s consider the traditional ingredients for this dish: milk, butter, and cheese. All of these food items tend to pack in plenty of saturated fats and cholesterol. Luckily, there are ways to make mac-n-cheese that isn’t that high in cholesterol. Next time you’re making some, try substituting 1 percent or even lower milk for the whole milk and butter, and you can use low-fat cheese in place of the usual. This way you can still enjoy this classic comfort food and with about half the cholesterol and fat of the traditional method.
4) Rib-Eye Steaks and Other Red Meat
For many people, there isn’t much better than having a juicy rib-eye steak or fillet mignon for dinner. Still, red-meat tends to be high in cholesterol and saturated fats, so nutritionists advice that these should be eaten in regulation. In fact, a single 4-ounce rib-eye steak will account for most of a person’s recommended daily intake of cholesterol and saturated fat. So, if you aren’t willing to cut beef out of your diet, then you may want to consider eating some leaner cuts of meat (flank, rump, tenderloin, or tip steak) which are lower in cholesterol levels.
5) Be Wary of Certain Types of Seafood
While there are plenty of seafood items which are quite healthy, there are a few things which are packed with cholesterol too. Unfortunately, if you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, then you’re going to want to avoid eating lobster when possible. Incredibly, there are about 61mg of cholesterol per three ounces of lobster meat, and that’s not including any butter dipping sauce. If you have seafood on the mind, try to avoid adding butter to the dish, and going grilled or broiled is always a healthier choice than fried.
6) Not All Chicken is Created Equal
In many ways, chicken can be a great way to keep your fat intake down, while still eating meat. However, there is also a large diversity of ways that someone can cook their chicken. Unfortunately, some methods of cooking chicken can result in a meal that is shockingly high in cholesterol. For example, a chicken leg that is cooked and left with the skin still on will be packing more cholesterol and fat than an entire hamburger. With the skin left intact and then deep fried, you know have some high cholesterol food. Remember to grill your chicken and leave off the skin. Also, skip on the dark meat as this has more fat than white meat.
7) Liver or No?
Liver may not be the most popular food item out there, but some people like to have some as a good source of iron. Unfortunately, liver also possesses plenty of cholesterol. If you remember from one of our previous posts on high cholesterol, our livers actually produce and store cholesterol in the body. Organ meats like liver actually house the most concentrated levels of cholesterol (there are 331mg of cholesterol for only 3 ounces of cooked beef liver). This is another meat that you may be better served skipping if you are dealing with higher levels of cholesterol in your body.
8) Caviar and Other Fish Eggs
This type of food item is seen as more of a delicacy, and in general it is not eaten in large quantities. In many areas of Europe, caviar is used as a spread for various breads, and some sushi rolls employ a bit of roe on the top. Still, studies have shown that only 100 grams of caviar is loaded with 588mg of cholesterol (that’s roughly 94 mg of cholesterol per tablespoon!).
9) Say Cheese!
Not surprisingly perhaps, but cheese has made the list of high cholesterol foods. If you were to take a look at many of the favorite foods in this country, you would see that cheese tends to be a regular addition. As a good source of calcium, cheese is a food item which comes in a wide variety of types and flavors. Nutritionists will advise people struggling with their cholesterol levels to start cutting out cheese from their diet where possible, in particular Port de Salut. This cheese contains 123mg of cholesterol per 100 gram serving (more cholesterol than any other cheese!).
10) Beware of Certain Snack-foods
As mentioned earlier, trans fats are one of the primary things that you want to limit in your diet in order to stay healthy. Food items that have been cooked with vegetable oils tend to be loaded with trans fats. So, commercially baked goods like cookies, French fries, onion rings, crackers, and cakes can make a significant impact on your daily cholesterol intake. As you may now realize, so many of the comfort foods and other things that people love to eat tend to be high in cholesterol. That is part of the problem, and why it can be so tough for people to adjust their diet in order to reduce their unhealthy intake levels. Remember, you can do yourself a big favor by reading food labels, showing some restraint at the restaurant, and eating smaller portions.