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|
|Chicken, leg and thigh||84|
|Sausage, salami type||75|
|Cheese, Swiss type||75|
|Rainbow trout, cultivated||74|
|Cheese, Edam type||65|
|Chicken, breast fillet||56.2|
|Beef, shoulder and chuck||55.2|
|Pork, outer fillet||53.7|
|Tuna, canned in water||49|
|Minced meat, beef||48|
|Ham, cured and smoked||48|
|Sausage, franfurter type||40|
|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
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.