What foods are high in cholesterol?

by Ahsan Sohail
What foods are high in cholesterol?

Foods that increase blood cholesterol and clog blood vessels. So, what are they – these insidious “destroyers” of our body? We are surrounded by so many delicious things, literally beckoning with their appetizing sight!

Eyes run up, and, in principle, it is normal for a person to get pleasure from food (not smoking and alcohol). But, as the ancients said: EVERYTHING is permissible, but NOT EVERYTHING is useful!

So, in this article, we will point out that food products seriously raise harmful cholesterol in the blood and contribute to the development of other diseases. So, what kind of food should you give up temporarily, and which forever? Let’s find out.

What foods raise blood cholesterol?

We bring a list of foods to your attention that is not only high in cholesterol (not recommended and even forbidden under the condition of high levels of LDL/ (TG) triglycerides) but also harmful to the body, even to healthy people.

1)   “White” bakery products (white flour).

Our rating starts with virtually any baked goods made with white flour. They contribute to the destruction of the balance of insulin in our body, which invariably increases already high cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that women (who love delicious buns) have a 2.25% higher risk of heart attacks! Due to the off-scale glycemic index.

Literally, in a couple of weeks after giving up white bread and other “goodies” (too much false feeling of “malnutrition”), you will feel relief in your stomach. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous manufacturers who “finish off” our health with chemical additives to make more products faster and cheaper.

With a high cholesterol level, you can eat (and sometimes even need to) only gray bread, for example, baked from whole meal rye flour. The ideal natural medicine for our ancestors, not only for problems with blood vessels but also for problems with obesity/anemia.

What else that one should not eat with high cholesterol is the liver (in fact, the “factory” for the production of cholesterol in almost any animal or bird).

2)   “Red” meat and meat foods from it, meat offal.

The following foods that increase cholesterol are “red” meat (animal/red/not “white” poultry), meat products, and meat by-products (internal organs). The latter puts the greatest threat to people with high cholesterol levels. Moreover, this is not only the insides of animals but also birds. For example, 100 grams of chicken livers account for 492 ml of pure cholesterol.

But the title of world champion “in the presence of cholesterol” (among all foods in general) belongs to such offal as beef and pork brains up to 2300mg. 765% above the daily value. And thank God that this food is not popular. Although, they don’t look very tempting.

It is worth mentioning pork separately among all the “red” meat. Even without considering the fatty layers (even more aggravating the situation with unhealthy fats), the pork fillet contains 380mg, and the shank 360mg (for the same 100 grams of product). According to doctors and nutritionists, duck is the most harmful poultry/white meat.

We must pay particular attention to the liver. The “cholesterol factory” in both humans and animals. Of course, one cannot consume it in large quantities (especially for people suffering from cardiovascular diseases). But in terms of its useful properties, it is excellent. According to reputable nutritionists, 80 gr. Calf liver per month is even useful for people who have atherosclerosis (due to the presence of chromium in its composition).

Beef liver contains calcium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, zinc, proteins, and iron. Vitamins A, C, and a few of the group B. Also essential amino acids: tryptophan, lysine, and methionine. Therefore, it is recommended (for moderate consumption) for people suffering from nervous diseases, anemia, joint diseases, and even smokers. The only exception is chicken liver. You cannot use it.

3)   Egg yolks.

According to research results, some dishes prepared with the “active” use of egg yolks contain a huge amount of cholesterol. A regular/classic serving (100g) contains 1230 mg, which exceeds the daily rate by as much as 410%!

It is worth noting that chicken yolks are the most “harmless among all egg yolks.” The real record-holders (which the world has not seriously thought about) are turkey and goose eggs (933mg/884mg per 100g of product). Not far behind are the quail eggs, about 600 mg.

However, the title of “honorary” winner among the products that dramatically increase cholesterol (among the “yolk” representatives) belongs to egg powder, as much as 2050mg!

At the same time, egg whites are safe products and very useful (naturally, in moderation). In no case should they be neglected!

4)   Harmful seafood.

The list continues with harmful products (increasing blood cholesterol) and some “gifts” of the seas and oceans. First of all, this is red caviar (up to 588 mg of cholesterol per 100g of products, which is 196% higher than the daily value!), stellate sturgeon, exotic squid, and crabs. And also as meat (fashionable now in bars/restaurants), octopus, shellfish, mussels, cuttlefish, and shrimp.

A typical serving of the latter (i.e., shrimp) already contains 65% of the permissible norm per day. But will we stop at this during the holiday/banquet? We will always end up ordering more. Another argument for a complete rejection of these dishes is the “outlandish” menu, especially raw seafood, sometimes teeming with “very outlandish worms.”

It includes virtually any fish cooked in butter (or, even worse, in pork fat). Simply put, with a high blood cholesterol content, you should not eat fried fish dishes.

But here are other ways of cooking (for example, steaming), not that you can eat, but you need to! Specifically, men and women over 60 years old. Moreover, at least two servings per week.

We must exclude absolutely all canned fish from the diet!

5)   Harmful vegetable oils.

Other foods that increase blood cholesterol (at risk) are coconut oil, palm oil, and peanut oil. They contain just a record amount of poly saturated fatty acids that destroy both fat and lipid metabolism. It contributes to the rapid development of vascular atherosclerosis and significantly increases the risks of forming other diseases, no less serious.

The most harmful for people suffering from high blood cholesterol is peanut butter. Despite the fact that it significantly reduces the risks of some types of oncological diseases (by almost 25%), “thanks” to aflatoxins (in its composition). On the contrary. They significantly increase the risks of developing liver cancer, especially in the liver with disorders associated with lipid imbalance.

6)   Trans fats (hydrogenated oils and fats).

What other foods increase our cholesterol? These are “sandwich oils” and margarine, potato chips and “fast food” (we’ll talk about it in detail below), crackers, and popcorn. And virtually all “commercial” sweets (meaning not homemade). That is, store-bought “goodies” for evening joy: muffins, croissants, biscuits, cream/chocolate biscuits, cakes, etc. Typically baked using hydrogenated oils and fats.

Very tasty in appearance, but just “killing” us. As a rule, they are also made of white flour (of the highest grade), the negative effect of which – we wrote above.

According to research results, even healthy women (with frequent use of such “sweets”) are at serious risk of “earning” type II diabetes. Develop your personal culinary skills to prepare deliciously and 200% healthy food!

Bottom Line: People with cardiovascular disease (observing LDL/HDL lipoprotein and triglyceride levels) have strict instructions to avoid eating foods made with trans fats. They quite seriously and very quickly raise the level of “bad” cholesterol in the blood (as well as triglycerides) and significantly lower the content of “good.”

7)   Fast foods, hamburgers, and hot dogs.

Top cholesterol-raising foods are fast foods, hot dogs, hamburgers, French fries, pizzas, “chicken tobacco,” and other products from grill bars, street stalls, or small restaurants. Moreover, they increase the level of “bad” cholesterol in the blood and seriously “ruin” our stomach! And in addition to mayonnaise, ketchup, all sorts of fatty/spicy sauces, and soda water (especially Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, etc.), they are extremely destructive!

Not to mention the production of carcinogens (fraught with high risks of oncological diseases) formed during repeated heat treatment of vegetable oil. That is when something is “diligently” fried several times in a row in the same oil.

Naturally, working people will not like this news. What then to eat during lunch breaks? But for example, we suggest you take a look at the numbers. And this is only selective.

The cholesterol content of some fast foods per serving (without sauces and seasonings):

  • Big Mac – 85 mg.
  • A regular instant sandwich contains up to 150 mg.
  • “Classic Double” – 175 mg.
  • Classic egg sandwich – about 260 mg.
  • And, finally, a record: Burrito breakfast – 1 serving/465 mg.

What is the danger of high cholesterol?

A high concentration of cholesterol for a long time creates conditions for the formation of severe pathologies:

  • Coronary heart disease is caused by difficulties with oxygen saturation of the blood.
  • Vascular thrombosis.
  • Cerebral stroke.
  • Myocardial infarction.
  • Ischemic heart disease.
  • Renal and hepatic impairment.
  • Alzheimer’s disease.

Excessive cholesterol content provokes the development of hypertension. The conquest of the walls of blood vessels creates the preconditions for diseases of the legs, varicose veins, and thrombophlebitis.

Diabetes mellitus is accompanied by dyslipidemia – a change in the proportions of different types of lipoproteins. As a consequence, people with diabetes have a higher chance of getting heart and vascular diseases.

Patients often learn about high cholesterol only after the occurrence of some complications like coronary artery disease, heart attack, or stroke.

The rate of cholesterol in the blood.

Healthy people’s concentration of “good” cholesterol is quite high. The normal values ​​do not exceed 1.0 mmol/L. The deficiency will create additional problems for the body.

The maximum concentration of “harmful” cholesterol for healthy people does not exceed 3.5 mmol/L.

In hypertensive and diabetics, this indicator should be less than two mmol/L. Surpassing this norm can incite the development of atherosclerosis.

For total cholesterol, normal values ​​should not exceed 5.2 mmol/L.

In addition to quantitative parameters, it also assesses the qualitative composition of cholesterol: the proportions of its different fractions LDL, HDL, and TG. In healthy people, atherogenic cholesterol (LDL) ranges from 100-130 mg/L (in hypertensive patients, 70-90 mg/L).

The most affordable way to determine your concentration of all types of cholesterol is a blood test called the “lipid profile.”

It is necessary to monitor the compliance of your indicators with the normal range for healthy people over 35 years old at least once every two years. Patients at risk, or people who have (or have had) patients with vascular pathologies in the family, should be examined annually.

Symptoms of high cholesterol.

Doctors call cholesterol a “gentle, affectionate killer” because the desire to eat a cake or ham does not provoke pain like a bad tooth. The accumulation of the harmful substance is often asymptomatic.

When cholesterol concentration rises, atherosclerotic plaques form in the body, leading to cardiovascular and other health problems.

Several nonspecific signs indicate high blood cholesterol:

  • Cardiac pathology. Coronary artery disease is a consequence of the narrowing of the coronary arteries.
  • The advent of clots with heavy bleeding.
  • Chest and joint pain.
  • Fatty granulomas – excruciating inflammation of the skin.
  • Yellow spots of fat on the skin under the eyes, small fatty lobes in the corners of the eyes.
  • Heaviness and pain in the legs, even with light physical exertion.

These are just the foremost signs when classifying which it is necessary to undergo an inspection. Symptoms of the sickness often become visible only when cholesterol levels have already become critical.

The reasons for the increase in “bad” cholesterol – who is at risk?

The main prerequisite for the accumulation of excess cholesterol is an unbalanced diet when an excess amount of fats (margarine (spread), mayonnaise, butter, fatty meat, crabs, shrimps, pastries, or high-fat dairy products) enters the body.

By the way, the quantity of cholesterol in lard is lesser than in butter. According to the norms of nutritionists, consume 1g of fat per day per 1kg of body weight.

These factors provoke an increase in “bad” cholesterol:

  • Alcohol and smoking abuse are toxic to the liver, where cholesterol synthesizes.
  • Cardiac pathologies in the form of heart attack and angina pectoris.
  • Diabetes mellitus – high blood glucose is an additional provoking factor for producing “bad” cholesterol.
  • Renal failure.
  • Extrahepatic jaundice.
  • Hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Lack of growth hormone.
  • Excessive use of a group of drugs upsets the balance of metabolism.
  • Recurrent stressful situations increase the production of cortisol in the blood, which destroys protein tissue and increases blood glucose levels.
  • Overweight.

Men with large bellies are also at risk. Fat envelops internal organs, disrupting their work, increasing intra-abdominal pressure, and negatively affecting the function of the liver, which synthesizes cholesterol. This list also includes menopausal women who have reduced reproductive function and the synthesis of female sex hormones.

Fans of low-fat diets are also at risk. What is cholesterol for those who are losing weight, and why should it come from food? When 20% of the required cholesterol is not supplied with food, the body begins to produce more of it.

Other causes also affect the production of high cholesterol: hormonal medications, oral contraceptives, diuretics, and B-blockers. Age will also be a risk factor as, over time, the body’s normal functioning becomes more difficult.

Ten simple rules for keeping cholesterol normal.

We can stop atherosclerosis in the early stages, and nutrition, in this matter, serves as a powerful preventive measure. When high cholesterol is identified, the doctor must give his recommendations.

An experienced doctor will not rush to propose medications but will try to lessen the level of the problematic substance by amending nutrition.

  • Vegetable oil (linseed, sunflower, olive, corn) with polyunsaturated fatty acids in small amounts (up to 30g/day) helps synthesize high-density lipoproteins. Excess oil thickens the blood.
  • Honey, cabbage, and grated carrots are also on the list of recommended foods. In general, you need to add a lot of fiber and dietary fiber to the diet containing vegetables and fruits. It removes 15% of cholesterol from the intestines, preventing its absorption. The popular European campaign “5 vegetables a day” (about 400g) can improve the situation. The number of vegetables in the diet should be 2-3 times more than the rest of the food. Due to the lack of fiber, canned food is also blacklisted.
  • Whole grains contain a lot of magnesium, an anti-atherosclerotic agent that normalizes the production of good cholesterol.
  • Thins the blood and restores blood flow and fish oil from northern fish, rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, promoting high-density lipoproteins. We can consume fish 2-3 times a week. Rich in iodine lowers “bad” cholesterol, seaweed, cod liver, perch, and shrimp.

Reducing cholesterol with nuts, berries and beans.

  • Among nuts, pistachios are in the lead. If you consume them regularly (20-30g/day), cholesterol levels decrease several times! You can obtain good results from almonds or walnuts, which also contain beneficial acids. Nuts are added to salad, cottage cheese, and porridge, dosing their consumption.
  • Cranberries, tea, peppers, raspberries, blueberries, and cherries with a high content of cholesterol-lowering manganese have proven themselves well in the fight against excess cholesterol. If blueberries are only fresh, you can use cherries after heat treatment.
  • A very useful product is mushrooms, which, in addition to fiber, contain a special substance, statin, which blocks the production of low-density lipoproteins. In general, mushrooms are difficult for the stomach, so it is important to observe moderation.
  • Beans absorb and eliminate excess cholesterol. Eating 200g of legumes a day (boiled) is enough to not think about excess cholesterol. Including an artichoke or an artichoke extract on the menu is useful.
  • Reduce cholesterol and citrus fruits, which contain pectin that binds “bad” cholesterol in the digestive tract. In this case, make sure to eat the grapefruit with a white film. Baked apples also contain a lot of pectin.

Give up smoking.

The active smoking of the smoker himself and the passive smoking of those around him increase the risk of developing countless critical diseases, primarily oncological and cardiovascular diseases.

Tobacco smoke contains a wide range of substances toxic to many organs and tissues (nicotine, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, and carcinogenic substances). So, nicotine disrupts the tone of the vascular wall and contributes to its damage and spasms and aggravates the formation of blood clots in the blood vessels.

Carbon monoxide, combined with the hemoglobin, blocks the transfer of oxygen to organs and tissues. The components of tobacco smoke contribute to the development of arterial hypertension, a violation in the system of transfer of cholesterol to the vessel walls, aggravating the deposition of cholesterol in them. There is a high overall risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

Adequate physical activity.

Adequate physical activity is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. The most reasonable and fairly effective method of physical activity is fast walking in the fresh air. You should do it five times a week, 30-45 minutes (up to 2 hours). The heart rate should reach 65-70% of that achieved at the maximum load for a given age. You can calculate the maximum heart rate for a particular person using the formula: 220 – age in years. For example, for a practically healthy 50-year-old person, the maximum heart rate is 220–50=170 beats per minute, and the recommended heart rate during training is 110–120 beats per minute.

Many people do not have enough time to exercise, so try using every opportunity to move during and after the workday. For example, sedentary workers should get up to make a phone call or throw the trash in the trash bin, walk the stairs instead of taking the elevator, hold a short meeting while standing, etc.

The results of large studies have shown that the combination of regular physical activity with a decrease in periods of prolonged sedentary work due to short breaks makes a significant complementary contribution to the prevention of heart and vascular diseases.

In the presence of diseases of the heart and blood vessels, the physician selects the exercise regimen individually, strictly following the results of the electrocardiographic (ECG) test with exercise.


There are many more exotic ways to normalize cholesterol levels, but the above are scientifically proven. Using at least three of them can give very significant results. So go for it. Each body responds in a way to diet changes. Still, the best advice one can give is to exercise regularly, try to vary the diet to incorporate more vegetables and consume less meat, and leave aside fried foods and processed foods.

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