Cholesterol is a fat essential for the proper function and integrity of cells in the body. In situations when the temperature is fluctuating, cholesterol ensures the stability of cells’ normal condition, and by virtue of that the body. Cholesterol is also needed for the production of hormones such as progesterone, estrogens, testosterone, and aldosterone, vitamin E, and bile acid.

Cholesterol is of two types: namely, low-density lipoprotein, LDL (bad cholesterol) and high density lipoprotein, HDL, (good cholesterol). High level of blood LDL cholesterol is associated with stroke, thickening of arteries, and heart diseases (eg. coronary heart disease), whereas HDL cholesterol is associated with reduced risk of heart diseases. High density lipo-protein (HDL) cholesterol also acts as antioxidant.

Cholesterol is produced in the body and also obtained from food sources. Food that are high in cholesterol content, such as meat and egg, are associated with high level of serum cholesterol. On the other hand, plant foods, also good sources of dietary fiber, have sterol (cholesterol-like chemicals) that reduce absorption of cholesterol to the blood stream. Therefore, eating plant foods high in sterol is known to help lower the cholesterol level in the blood.

If it may help you plan what food to avoid or eat so as to reduce cholesterol level, below is a list of food items (meat, fish, milk, eggs and their products) and the estimate of their cholesterol content. The cholesterol content analysis was carried out by Finnish researchers on food items they gathered in Finland.

Cholesterol food sources Cholesterol content (mg/100 g food)
Roe of vendace 743
Roe of rainbow trout 409
Egg, whole 361
Beef, liver 228.3
Pork, liver 225
Shrimp, frozen 142
Perch 92
Chicken, leg and thigh 84
Blue cheese 82
Pikeperch 79
Cream cheese 77
Baltic herring 77
Sausage, salami type 75
Cheese, Swiss type 75
Rainbow trout, cultivated 74
Vendace 74
Sausage, liver 72
Saithe, frozen 69
Cheese, Edam type 65
Pike 63
Herring, marinated 61
Chicken, breast fillet 56.2
Beef, shoulder and chuck 55.2
pork, belly 54
Pork, outer fillet 53.7
Beef, brisket 52
Beaf, steak 52
Whitefish 49
Tuna, canned in water 49
Minced meat, beef 48
Ham, cured and smoked 48
pork, chop 46.9
Sausage, cooked 44.4
Sausage, franfurter type 40
Ice cream 30.2
Milk powder 16.5
Mayonnaise 9.5
Yoghurt 8.93
Milk 6.4
Ice Cream, vegetable fat 2.9

 



LDL cholesterol related links
"How low should LDL cholesterol be lowered?"
LDL cholesterol lowering and atherosclerosis
The following links also have dietary information helpful for lowering cholesterol naturally:
Cholesterol: good or bad for health?
Cholesterol: benefits and how to raise HDL cholesterol level
Foods low in cholesterol content - USDA
Plant food that help lower cholesterol
Foods of animal origin high in cholesterol- USDA
List of food totally free of cholesterol- USDA
Cholesterol content in seafoods (tuna, salmon, shrimp)
Cookbooks for low cholesterol diet

Related links
Fat: List of Food high in total fat and saturated fatty acids
Unsaturated fat: Food high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat content?

Source of data:
Piironen, V., Toivo, J., and Lampi, A.-M. 2002. New data for cholesterol contents in meat, fish, milk, eggs and their products consumed in Finland. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 15: 705-713.

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