You don’t have to be a nutritional expert to know that eating fried foods on a regular basis is bad for your cholesterol. But beyond that, do you know what foods contain a naturally high amount of cholesterol and should be avoided if you are trying to lower your LDL?
1). Eggs. Once banned from the breakfast table, eggs (specifically the yolks) are now generally considered a relatively healthy choice—with limits. Check with your doctor on what he/she considers the right intake for you—but most people can make eggs part of a heart-healthy diet as long as you don’t load up on cholesterol from other foods. So, if you have eggs for breakfast, don’t have a cheeseburger for lunch.
2). Burgers. Speaking of cheeseburgers, if you are like many Americans, you might occasionally eat lunch from a fast food joint. But before you order, consider this: a McDonald’s Big Mac has 85 mg of cholesterol. A Wendy’s Classic Double with everything has 175mg of cholesterol. Based on a daily diet of 2,000 calories, the recommended daily allowance of cholesterol is 300mg and the daily recommended allowance of total fat intake is 65g, with no more than 20g coming from saturated fatty acids. So if you have to have that burger, do your heart a favor and skip the fries.
3). Macaroni and Cheese – boy, don’t our kids love it! But the typical ingredients— whole milk, butter and cheese— are loaded with saturated fats and cholesterol. Substite 1% milk and evaporated milk for the whole milk and butter and use low-fat cheese to cut your calories and fat intake by half!
4). Ice Cream Did you know just one cup of ice cream has more cholesterol than 10 glazed donuts? On average, nearly 2 BILLION gallons of ice cream are produced per year in the U.S. and is a staple in 90% of American households. Consider low-fat or yogurt instead. Or – even better, a fruit based substitute like sorbet.
5). Here’s the Beef. Even the most well trimmed rib-eye takes up a big chunk of your recommended daily allowance of cholesterol and fat. With nothing else on your plate, even a small 4-ounce rib-eye steak eats 20 percent of your allowable saturated fat and 22 percent of your cholesterol. Consider leaner cuts of meat such as tenderloin or tip steak.
6). Muffins. Muffins are a healthy breakfast choice, right? If this is what you think, you need to reconsider this. Not all muffins are created equal. An English muffin with no saturated fat and no cholesterol may be a good choice (with a low fat topping), but many muffins – loaded with extra ingredients that you bake or take home from the store – can have up to 8 grams of fat in one muffin. Opt for a low-fat muffin made with whole wheat flour—you’ll get some fiber, a lot less fat and lower cholesterol amounts.
7). Lobster. Love that lobster! And it’s seafood, so it HAS to be good for you, right? Wrong. Some types of seafood – for sure – are a good choice. 3 ounces of lobster has 61mg of cholesterol and that’s BEFORE you dip it in butter.
8). Chicken is usually considered a good, low-fat meat choice, but how you cook it matters! For example: One chicken leg with the skin on it has more fat and cholesterol that a cup of ice cream or a hamburger. Keeping the skin on or frying it can turn it into a high-cholesterol food. When making chicken choices, opt for skinless, broil or grill it, and skip the dark meat!
9). Liver. Finally: a reason to NOT eat liver! Yes, liver has iron which is good for you, but it’s also very high in cholesterol. Cholesterol is made and stored in the liver! So it only makes sense that the most concentrated levels of cholesterol in animal meats are found in the organ meats like the liver. Three ounces of cooked beef liver gives you 331mg of cholesterol – already putting you over the recommended daily allowance.
10). Processed Snack Foods. Chips, commercially baked goods, cookies, cakes, French fries, onion rings and even crackers – most contain trans-fats! These fats result from adding hydrogen to vegetable oils and are the absolute worst kind of fat you can consume. Know the total allowable numbers for fat and cholesterol: 65 total fat grams of which only 20 grams should be from saturated fat, and 300 total milligrams of cholesterol—65/20/300. Read labels, cook smart, order wisely and remember than smaller portions are another way to cut back on high-cholesterol food