- While cholesterol is a normal part of the body and essential for proper functioning, in high levels cholesterol in the blood can cause serious health complications. The leading cause of high levels of cholesterol in the blood is consuming a diet which is high in cholesterol and consuming saturated fats, which bring the blood cholesterol level up. Knowing which foods contribute to high cholesterol is a great way to avoid it.
- Eating saturated fats is the surest way to make your blood level of cholesterol rise. Ghee, butter, lard and cream are all saturated fats, as are foods cooked in or containing coconut and palm oil. Hard cheeses, cakes, biscuits, sausages and food containing fatty meat off-cuts, like meat pies, are also culprits. Unsaturated fats from fish oils, avocados, nuts and seeds and olive oils can actually help to reduce cholesterol in the blood when consumed in moderation.
- Eggs are extremely high in cholesterol, the yoke in particular. While they are a great source of protein, overconsumption of eggs can lead to high cholesterol. A good way of avoiding most of the cholesterol but still enjoying an egg is to separate the egg whites from the yolk and only eat the protein-rich whites.
- The highest concentration of cholesterol is found in some parts of the offal of animals: the heart, brain, liver, lungs, stomach, tongue and kidneys. These highly concentrated forms of cholesterol are OK when eaten once in a while, but regular consumption can lead to very unhealthy levels of blood cholesterol, especially given that the most popular way of cooking these organs is frying. Pate is an especially rich source of cholesterol, as the concentration of liver is so high.
- Prawns are among the top cholesterol-containing foods. While they are not recommended for those suffering from high cholesterol, they also contain a high level of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential components of a healthy body. The fact that prawns are somewhat of a luxury item means that occasional consumption for those not already suffering from high blood cholesterol shouldn't be damaging.
- Fish roe is extremely high in cholesterol, however given that it is not a regular dietary food and is usually consumed in small amounts, it should not prove too much of a health risk if consumed moderately. The high salt content of fish roe is also another reason to moderate consumption.