11 Foods High in Cholesterol to Eat, What to Avoid

    Abdulaziz Sobh

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    Cholesterol is possibly one of the most misunderstood substances.

    For decades, people avoided healthy but high-cholesterol foods, such as eggs, because of fears that these foods increased the risk of heart disease.

    However, recent research shows that for most people the consumption of healthy foods high in cholesterol will not harm their health.

    In addition, some foods high in cholesterol are loaded with important nutrients that are missing in the diets of many people.

    This article explains why cholesterol should not be feared in foods and lists healthy foods high in cholesterol and some that should be avoided.

    What is cholesterol and is not healthy?
    Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your body and in animal products such as meat, eggs, and dairy products.

    It plays an important role in the production of hormones, vitamin D and the bile needed to digest fats.

    Cholesterol is an essential component of every cell in your body, giving your cell membranes strength and flexibility.

    Your liver produces all the cholesterol your body needs to function, but cholesterol can also be introduced through the consumption of animal products.

    Since cholesterol does not mix well with liquids (blood), it is transported by particles called lipoproteins, including high density and low-density lipoproteins, or LDL and HDL.

    LDL is often referred to as "bad cholesterol" because it is associated with the buildup of plaque in the arteries, while HDL ("good cholesterol") helps to excrete excess cholesterol from your body.

    When you consume extra cholesterol, your body makes up for it by reducing the amount of cholesterol it produces naturally.

    Conversely, when dietary cholesterol intake is low, your body increases cholesterol production to ensure that there is always enough of this vital substance.

    Only about 25% of the cholesterol in your system comes from dietary sources. The rest is produced by your liver.

    Is the cholesterol in the diet harmful?
    Research has shown that dietary cholesterol does not significantly affect cholesterol levels in your body, and data from population studies do not support an association between dietary cholesterol and heart disease in the general population.

    Although cholesterol in the diet may slightly affect cholesterol levels, this is not a problem for most people.

    In fact, two-thirds of the world's population experience little or no increase in cholesterol levels after eating high cholesterol foods even in large quantities.

    A small number of people are considered non-compensating for cholesterol or hyper-responders and appear to be more vulnerable to foods high in cholesterol.

    However, it is believed that hyper-responders recycle extra cholesterol to the liver for excretion.

    It has also been shown that dietary cholesterol beneficially affects the relationship between LDL and HDL, which is considered the best indicator of the risk of heart disease.

    While research shows that it is unnecessary for most people to avoid cholesterol in their diet, keep in mind that not all foods that contain cholesterol are healthy.

    Here are 7 healthy foods with high cholesterol content and 4 to avoid.

    1-7. Healthy foods with high cholesterol content
    Here are 7 high cholesterol foods that are incredibly nutritious.

    1. Eggs
    Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. They also have a high cholesterol content, with a large egg that delivers 211 mg of cholesterol or 70% of the IDR.

    People often avoid eggs for fear they may cause a sudden increase in cholesterol. However, research shows that eggs do not adversely affect cholesterol levels and that eating whole eggs can lead to increases in HDL protective heart.

    In addition to being high in cholesterol, eggs are an excellent source of highly absorbable protein and loaded with beneficial nutrients such as B vitamins, selenium and vitamin A.

    Research has shown that eating 1-3 eggs per day is perfectly safe for healthy people.

    2. Cheese
    A portion of 1 ounce (28 grams) of cheese provides 27 mg of cholesterol or approximately 9% of the IDR.

    Although cheese is often associated with an increase in cholesterol, several studies have shown that full-fat cheese does not adversely affect cholesterol levels.

    A 12-week study in 162 people found that a high intake of 80 grams or about 3 ounces of whole cheese a day did not increase "bad" LDL cholesterol, compared to the same amount of low-fat cheese or the same number of calories from bread and jam.

    Different types of cheese vary in nutritional content, but most cheeses provide a good amount of calcium, protein, B vitamins and vitamin A.

    Because the cheese is high in calories, meet the recommended serving size of 1-2 ounces at a time to keep the portions under control.

    3. Seafood
    Seafood that includes clams, crabs and shrimp are an excellent source of protein, B vitamins, iron, and selenium.

    They are also high in cholesterol. For example, a 3 oz (85 gram) portion of shrimp provides 166 mg of cholesterol, which is more than 50% of the IDR.

    In addition, shellfish contain bioactive components such as carotenoid antioxidants and the amino acid taurine that help prevent heart disease and reduce "bad" LDL cholesterol.

    Populations that consume more shellfish have rates of heart disease, diabetes, and inflammatory diseases such as arthritis that is demonstrably lower.

    4. Roasted fillet
    The steak raised on grass is full of important proteins, vitamins, and minerals such as vitamin B12, zinc, selenium, and iron.

    It is lower in cholesterol than feedlot beef and contains significantly more omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties.

    A 4-ounce serving (112 grams) of pasture-raised beef contains approximately 62 mg of cholesterol or 20% of the IDR.

    Although processed meat has a clear association with heart disease, several large population studies have found no association between red meat intake and the risk of heart disease.

    5. Organ meats
    The meats of organs rich in cholesterol such as the heart, kidney, and liver are highly nutritious.

    For example, the chicken heart is an excellent source of the powerful antioxidant CoQ10, as well as vitamin B12, iron, and zinc.

    It is also high in cholesterol, with a 2-ounce serving (56 grams) that provides 105 mg of cholesterol, or 36% of the IDR.

    A study of more than 9,000 Korean adults found that those with a moderate intake of raw meat, including organ meats, had a lower risk of developing heart disease than those with the lowest consumption.

    6. Sardines
    Sardines are not only loaded with nutrients but they are also a tasty and convenient protein source that can be added to a wide variety of dishes.

    A portion of 3.75 ounces (92 grams) of these tiny fish contains 131 mg of cholesterol or 44% of the IDR, but also contains 63% of the RDI for vitamin D, 137% of the RDI for the vitamin B12 and 35% of the IDR for calcium.

    In addition, sardines are an excellent source of iron, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, magnesium and vitamin E.

    7. Full-fat yogurt
    Full-fat yogurt is a high-cholesterol food that contains nutrients such as protein, calcium, phosphorus, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and potassium.

    One cup (245 grams) of the whole yogurt contains 31.9 mg of cholesterol or 11% of the IDR.

    Recent research shows that the increase in the consumption of fermented milk products with total fat content is associated with reductions in "bad" LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as a lower risk of stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.

    In addition, fermented dairy products such as yogurt benefit intestinal health by positively impacting intestinal bacteria.

    8-11: Foods high in cholesterol that you should avoid
    While certain foods high in cholesterol are highly nutritious and beneficial to your health, others can be harmful.

    Here are 4 foods high in cholesterol that can negatively affect your health.

    8. Fried Foods
    Fried foods, such as fried meats and cheese sticks, are high in cholesterol and should be avoided whenever possible.

    That's because they are loaded with calories and may contain trans fats, which increase the risk of heart disease and are harmful to your health in many other ways.

    In addition, the high consumption of fried foods has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

    9. Fast food
    The consumption of fast food is an important risk factor for many chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

    Those who consume fast food often tend to have higher cholesterol, more abdominal fat, higher levels of inflammation and regulation of blood sugar.

    Eating less processed foods and cooking more meals at home is associated with lower body weight, less body fat and reductions in risk factors for heart disease such as high LDL cholesterol.

    10. Processed Meats
    Processed meats, such as sausages, bacon and hot dogs, are high cholesterol foods that should be limited.

    The high consumption of processed meats has been linked to an increase in the rates of heart disease and certain cancers, such as colon cancer.

    A major review that included more than 614,000 participants found that each additional serving of 50 grams of processed meat per day was associated with a 42% increased risk of developing heart disease.

    11. Desserts
    Cookies, cakes, ice creams, cakes, and other sweets are unhealthy foods that tend to be high in cholesterol, as well as added sugars, unhealthy fats, and calories.

    Frequent attendance at these foods can adversely affect overall health and lead to weight gain over time.

    Research has linked additional sugar intake to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cognitive decline, and certain cancers.

    In addition, these foods often lack the nutrients that your body needs to thrive. These include vitamins, minerals, proteins, and healthy fats.

    Healthy ways to reduce cholesterol
    Having high levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol can lead to the accumulation of cholesterol in the blood vessel, which can increase your risk of developing heart disease.

    Certain changes in lifestyle and diet can reduce LDL levels and create a more favorable ratio of LDL to HDL.

    Here are healthy and evidence-based ways to reduce cholesterol levels:

    Eat more fiber: research shows that consuming more fiber, especially soluble fiber found in fruits, beans, and oats, can help lower LDL cholesterol levels.
    Increase physical activity: becoming more physically active is an excellent way to reduce cholesterol levels. High-intensity aerobic exercise seems to be the most effective way to reduce LDL.
    Losing weight: Dropping excess weight is one of the best ways to reduce cholesterol levels. It can reduce LDL while increasing HDL, which is optimal for health.
    Reduce unhealthy habits: stop unhealthy habits such as smoking can significantly reduce LDL levels. Smoking increases LDL cholesterol levels and increases your risk of cancer, heart disease, and emphysema.
    Increase omega-3 in the diet: it has been shown that consuming more foods rich in omega-3 such as wild salmon or taking omega-3 supplements, such as fish oil pills, reduce LDL and raise HDL levels.
    Eat more products: Research shows that people who eat more fruits and vegetables have lower levels of LDL cholesterol and are less likely to develop heart disease than those who eat less.
    There are many other ways to effectively reduce high cholesterol levels.

    Trying just some of the suggestions above could result in a significant reduction in cholesterol and lead to other health benefits, such as weight loss and better eating habits.

    Foods high in cholesterol are not all the same, while some, like eggs and whole yogurt, are nutritious, others are not good for your health.

    Although it is safe for most people to enjoy the healthy and high cholesterol foods listed above, everyone should try to limit unhealthy and high cholesterol foods, such as fried items, desserts, and processed meats.

    Remember that the fact that a food has a high cholesterol content does not mean that it can not be integrated into a nutritious and well-balanced diet.


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