Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food. ...Hippocrates
Cholesterol is a sterol, a type of fat, which is essential for normal functioning of the body. Examples of cholesterol health benefits include maintainance of integrity of cell membrane of all tissues, synthesis of bile acids in the liver, and synthesis of lipids such as steroid hormones. It is required for the synthesis of hormones such as estrogen, testosterone and aldosterone.
Nonetheless, when its level in blood, especially that of LDL ("bad") cholesterol, rises beyond the normal range it causes health complications, including coronary heart disease. One of the causes of high serum cholesterol is intake of foods high in cholesterol. Therefore, one approach to acheive and maintain normal, healthy, serum cholesterol level is to avoid or reduce intake of high cholesterol foods. It should be noted, however, that the same foods with high cholesterol levels are also good sources of other essential nutrients such as protein, fatty acids, amino acids, macro- and micro-nutrients.
Not only are these nutrients required for healthy life but they also help in lowering the rate of increase of serum cholesterol concentration in response to the cholesterol in foods. Several studies have demonstrated that diets high in phytosterol (cholesterol-like chemicals found in plants), low in saturated fat and/or high in polyunsaturated fat reduce the accumulation of cholesterol in the blood due to dietary sources. Hence, management of serum cholesterol level needs to be part of a healthy holistic diet regimen.
Cholesterol is a constituent of all animal tissues, therefore, foods of animal origin contain dietary cholesterol. How much cholesterol there is in a food product varies depending on animal type and the body part of the animal the meat comes from. Forexample, brain contains higher cholesterol content than all meat-products from other body parts.
In the following tables are lists of cholesterol food sources and their corresponding cholesterol content (in mg per 100 g of edible food portion). The list represents the top 100 foods highest in cholesterol content from more than 7500 food items common in North American diet. The high cholesterol foods list is extracted from the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory, which the gold standard reference for nutritional data.
Table 1(a): List of top 100 common foods with the highest cholesterol content - first 20.
|Rank||Cholesterol food sources||Cholesterol content (mg/ 100 g edible food portion)|
|1||Beef, variety meats and by-products, brain, cooked, simmered||3100.00|
|2||Veal, variety meats and by-products, brain, cooked, braised||3100.00|
|3||Beef, variety meats and by-products, brain, raw||3010.00|
|4||Pork, fresh, variety meats and by-products, brain, cooked, braised||2552.00|
|5||Lamb, variety meats and by-products, brain, cooked, pan-fried||2504.00|
|6||Egg, yolk, dried||2335.00|
|7||Pork, fresh, variety meats and by-products, brain, raw||2195.00|
|8||Veal, variety meats and by-products, brain, cooked, pan-fried||2120.00|
|9||Lamb, variety meats and by-products, brain, cooked, braised||2043.00|
|10||Egg, whole, dried, stabilized, glucose reduced||2017.00|
|11||Beef, variety meats and by-products, brain, cooked, pan-fried||1995.00|
|12||Egg, whole, dried||1715.00|
|13||Veal, variety meats and by-products, brain, raw||1590.00|
|14||Lamb, variety meats and by-products, brain, raw||1352.00|
|15||Egg, yolk, raw, fresh||1234.00|
|16||Egg, yolk, raw, frozen||1075.00|
|17||Egg, yolk, raw, frozen, sugared||959.00|
|18||Egg, yolk, raw, frozen, salted||955.00|
|19||Egg, turkey, whole, fresh, raw||933.00|
|20||Egg, duck, whole, fresh, raw||884.00|