6 Foods Highest in Cholesterol and What to Eat Instead
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Your body needs cholesterol to live, but it makes its own. When you eat foods that are high in cholesterol on a regular basis, you cause an overload in your system. Over time, the excess can cause your arteries to become clogged and harden, eventually leading to a heart attack. Eating cholesterol in moderation is vital for your health. If you eat these foods often, switching to substitutes could greatly improve your health.
1. Egg Yolks
Regardless of the type of egg, yolks are the number one cause of high cholesterol levels in human beings. Most people eat hen’s eggs, in which one egg has about 62 percent of your daily value of cholesterol. If you eat goose, turkey, or duck eggs, you’re looking at two to four times the daily value in one egg. Instead of eating whole eggs, switch to just the whites for your recipes and meals. Another alternative would be to switch to using egg substitutes, which are often available in cartons in the dairy section of your grocery store.
2. Fish and Fish Oils
Fish and fish oils are high in cholesterol, especially herring oil, which has 36 percent of your daily value in one tablespoon. However, fish are also considered a heart-healthy food because of their omega-3 fatty acids, so you should not avoid fish products altogether. Instead, be sure to eat salmon oil, menhaden oil or salmon, and cod liver oil mixes, all of which are only about 25 percent of the recommended daily value per serving.
3. Fast Foods
Nearly all fast food is bad food, not only because of cholesterol levels due to frying, but also because they are high in calories and fat, low in nutritional value, and in some cases, aren’t even the product you think you’re eating. The worst, however, is an egg and bacon biscuit. Each serving consists of 118 percent of the recommended daily value of cholesterol.
You should avoid fast food as much as possible, but if you do decide you need a fix from your favorite drive-thru, opt for fried fish as an entree and a milkshake as dessert. These have the lowest cholesterol levels at nearly any restaurant.
4. Animal Fats and Oils
Animal fats and oils have long been considered an unhealthy choice due to calories and fat, but also because they can be high in cholesterol. Butter only has 10 percent of the recommended daily value per tablespoon, but the problem with products like these is that most people don’t stick to the recommended serving size, quickly multiplying their intake without even realizing it.
If you must use animal products, stick to shortening or goose or duck fat and lard, which only has 4 percent per serving. However, the better option would be to switch to products such as coconut oil, which works for a wide range of recipes and foods.
5. Processed Meats
People love a plate of crispy bacon or a grilled hot dog, but they don’t love the cholesterol they’re getting nearly as much. Bacon alone has 10 percent of the recommended daily value per ounce–but who eats just one ounce of bacon? Hot dogs and bratwurst are only slightly healthier at 7 percent of the daily value per ounce. Healthier alternatives include sticking to poultry products or eating vegetarian versions of processed meats. If you really can’t give up that hot dog at the cookout, be sure to stick to just one. You can fill up with salads and healthy sides.
6. Baked Goods
Baked goods round out the list of high-cholesterol foods. Sponge cake takes the cake–pun intended–with nearly 40 percent of the recommended daily value per piece. Brownies only have 6 percent per serving, but nobody can eat just one brownie. Luckily, these statistics are for baked goods made with eggs and animal fats. By finding healthy substitutes for these products in your recipes, you can greatly reduce your cholesterol intake.
It’s also important to avoid premade cake mixes and cookie doughs at the grocery store for the most part. Some healthy brands do exist, though.
Of course, all types of foods and their ingredients are usually okay in moderation, and you should never completely cut out any one item without first talking to your doctor. He or she will be able to determine what will work best for your body to ensure you stay in optimal health.