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Food sources of cholesterol - chart

Interpreting of cholesterol numbers

Combating high cholesterol


   Just at the beginning of the 20th century the link between circulatory system diseases and cholesterol was discovered. Increased concentration of "bad" cholesterol and free triglycerides in blood plasma belongs to the most important factors of arteriosclerosis hazard. When blood freely flows through blood vessels, together with it nutritious substances and essential to life oxygen are provided to every single cell. In blood also circulate compounds which may damage our arteries from inside (e.g. free radicals). Formed in this way damages cause that in these places fatty substances (mainly cholesterol) and thrombocytes begin to settle. Banks, which obstruct blood flow to many organs, are formed. In that way little and little oxygen reaches organs and progressive hypoxemia of organs leads to their insufficiency. Usually narrowing does not cover all arteries, it occurs in particular sections. Most frequently it concerns coronary arteries which conduct blood to heart. But one should remember cholesterol is also a forerunner of many important, essential for right organism functioning compounds which are sex hormones, hormones of adrenal cortex, vitamin D, gall acids.


HDL - "good cholesterol"

   Lipoproteins of high density. HDL contains approximately 55% protein, 3-15% triglycerides, 26-46% phospholipids, 15-30% cholesteryl esters, and 2-10% cholesterol. High density lipoproteins are the smallest of the lipoproteins. HDL particles have a size of 6-12.5 nanometers and a density of ~1.12. They decrease the total level of cholesterol in blood by its transport to liver, where it is expelled - that is why they act positively, slowing down the growth of vessel arteriosclerosis. HDL (High Density Lipoproteins) collects redundant cholesterol and carries it back to liver to be processed by organism. It can also remove cholesterol accumulated in arteries what means arteriosclerosis moving back.

LDL - "bad cholesterol"
   Lipoproteins of low density. LDL contains 20-22% protein, 10-15% triglycerides, 20-28% phospholipids, 37-48% cholesteryl esters, and 8-10% cholesterol. Low density lipoproteins are smaller than IDL, approximately 26 nanometers, and have a density of ~1.04. They increase cholesterol level in blood by its transport from liver to tissues - that is why they accelerate the grow of arteriosclerosis. Higher LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins) cholesterol level increases heart disease hazard because this form of cholesterol settles on arterial walls. To reduce the level of this fraction one should limit the consumption of saturated fatty acids and trans isomers (products originated from animals e.g. meat, butter, full fat milk, hydrogenated margarines, pastries, French fries, chips), increase consumption of food containing soluble fiber, keep the right body mass.


   Lipoproteins of intermediate density. These kind of lipoproteins are smaller than VLDL, approximately 40 nanometers, and have a density of ~1.0. Their function is to transport endogenous fats and cholesterol from liver to tissues. IDLs are composed of 10-12% protein, 24-30% triglycerides, 25-27% phospholipids, 32-35% cholesteryl esters and 8-10% cholesterol. IDLs are derived from VLDL by triglyceride depletion and therefore contain the same apolipoproteins as VLDL. IDL becomes LDL as its triglycerides are transferred to the cells.


   Lipoproteins of very low density. Very low density lipoproteins are approximately 25-90 nanometers in size, and have a density of ~0.98. Their function is to transport endogenous fats and cholesterol from liver to tissues. VLDL contains 5-12% protein, 50-55% triglycerides, 18-20% phospholipids, 12-15% cholesteryl esters and 8-10% cholesterol. VLDL also acquires several apolipoproteins from plasma HDL and is a source of triglycerides for the cells.


   Chylomicrons are the largest and least dense of the lipoproteins. These 1000-nanometer in size, and have a density of less than 0.95. Their function is to transport dietary fats and cholesterol from intestines to tissues. Chylomicrons contain about 1-2% protein, 85-88% triglycerides, ~8% phospholipids, ~3% cholesteryl esters and ~1% cholesterol. The lymphatic system transports chylomicrons to the plasma where they acquire additional apolipoproteins from HDL. Triglycerides contained in chylomicrons are hydrolyzed in the tissues and the particle remnants are processed by the liver.

Food sources of cholesterol - chart

   Dietary cholesterol is found only in foods derived from animals (meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy products), it is not present in plants. Too high "bad cholesterol" content in a diet may increase the level of this ingredient in blood serum, although some people possess increased "combustion" of cholesterol coming from food of animal origin. For the rest one of protective action is limitation of daily cholesterol consumption. The safe range of cholesterol intake is: 200-400 milligrams per day.


Product Cholesterol per 100 grams [g] of food in milligrams [mg]
beef / veal brain, raw 3100
egg, yolk, dried 2335
egg, whole, dried 1715
egg, yolk, raw, fresh 1234
egg, turkey, whole, fresh, raw 933
egg, duck, whole, fresh, raw 884
egg, goose, whole, fresh, raw 852
egg, quail, whole, fresh, raw 844
herring fish oil, raw 766
sardine fish oil, raw 710
caviar, raw 588
cod liver fish oil, raw 570
menhaden fish oil, raw 521
duck liver, raw515
salmon fish oil, raw 485
roe, raw 479
egg, whole, fresh, raw 372
egg, whole, cooked, scrambled 352
lamb kidney, raw 337
turkey liver, raw 331
pork liver, raw 301
clarified butter, Ghee 256
squid, mixed species, raw 233
butter without salt 215
butter salted 215
sponge cake 170
shrimp, mixed species, raw 152
pate 150
turkey heart, raw 147
heavy whipping cream 137
eel, mixed species, raw 126
blood sausage 120
butter cookies 117
gouda cheese 114
crayfish, mixed species, wild, raw 114
light whipping cream (30-36% fat) 111
cream cheese 110
fat, beef tallow 109
yellow cheese 108
butter cookies 117
pepperoni, pork and beef 105
cheddar cheese 105
turkey fat 102
mutton tallow fat 102
duck fat 100
goose fat 100
brie cheese 100
lobster, northern, raw 95
swiss cheese 92
vanilla ice creams 92
lard 95
goose, all classes, meat and skin, raw, average 91
roquefort cheese 90
limburger cheese 90
perch, mixed species, raw 90
feta cheese 89
edam cheese 89
margarine-like, butter-margarine blend, 80% fat, stick, without salt 88
pike, walleye, raw 86
chicken fat 85
salami, Italian, pork 80
goat cheese, semisoft type 79
blue crab, raw 78
duck, all classes, meat and skin, raw, average 77
herring, Pacific, raw 77
quail, all classes, meat and skin, raw, average 71
pressurized whipped cream 76
chicken, broilers or fryers, meat and skin, raw, average 75
blue cheese 75
beef, all classes, meat, raw, average 72
camembert cheese 72
pork sausage, fresh, raw 72
pollock, Atlantic, raw 71
pheasant, raw, meat and skin, average 71
pollock, walleye, raw 71
mackerel, Atlantic, raw 70
fish, all classes, meat and skin, raw, average 70
pork, all classes, meat, raw, average 70
ham, minced 70
turkey, all classes, meat and skin, raw, average 68
parmesan cheese 68
croissants, butter 67
frankfurter sausage, pork 66
light cream (18% fat) 66
butterfish, raw 65
mozzarella cheese 64
salmon, sockeye, raw 62
beerwurst, pork and beef 62
anchovy, european, raw 60
knackwurst, knockwurst, pork and beef 60
chocolate ice creams 60
sturgeon, mixed species, raw 60
burbot, raw 60
trout, mixed species, raw 58
catfish, channel, wild, raw 58
buttermilk pancakes 58
haddock, raw 57
cheese croissants 57
salmon, Atlantic, wild, raw 55
crab, queen, raw 55
oyster, eastern, wild, raw 53
sour cream, cultured (20% fat) 52
ricotta cream, whole milk 51
custard 51
vanilla wafers 51
sheepshead, raw 50
snail, raw 50
tilefish, raw 50
frog legs, raw 50
tilapia, raw 50
pompano, florida, raw 50
oyster, Pacific, raw 50
sablefish, raw 49
flatfish (flounder and sole species), raw 48
octopus, common, raw 48
halibut, Greenland, raw 46
Berliner sausage, pork and beef 46
lemon meringue pie 45
cod, Atlantic, raw 43
swordfish, raw 39
tuna, fresh, bluefin, raw 38
snapper, mixed species, raw 37
cod, Pacific, raw 37
sour cream, light 35
scallop, mixed species, raw 33
canned milk, condensed, sweetened 33
gingerbread 32
apple croissants 31
evaporated milk 29
blue mussel, raw 28
sheep milk 27
pumpkin pie 26
margarine-like spread 23
salmon, chinook, smoked 23
milk chocolate 23
white chocolate 21
doughnuts, cake-type, plain, chocolate-coated or frosted 19
chocolate milk with almonds 19
semisweet chocolate 18
brownies cookies 17
cottage cheese (4% fat) 15
Snickers bar 13
milk crackers 11
Kit Kat wafer bar 11
Mily way bar 9
sour cream, fat free 9
greek yoghurt 9
Snickers cruncher 9
dark chocolate, 45-59% cacao 8
M&M's peanut chocolate candies 8
Twix caramel cookie bars 7
low fat fruit yoghurt 6
apple strudel 6
dried whey 6
dark chocolate, 60-69% cacao 6
milk (1% fat) 5
low fat vanilla yoghurt 5
Musketeers bar 5
skimmed milk 4
dark chocolate, 70-85% cacao 3
milk chocolate coated raisins 3
skimmed milk yoghurt 2
buttermilk biscuits 1
chocolate yoghurt, nonfat milk 1

Interpreting of cholesterol numbers

The right concentration in blood of the adults:

  • Total cholesterol [mg/dl]
    desirable: below 200
    borderline: 201-239
    undesirable: 240 and above

  • LDL cholesterol ("bad cholesterol") [mg/dl]
    desirable: below 130
    borderline: 131-159
    undesirable: 160 and above

  • HDL cholesterol ("good cholesterol") [mg/dl]
    desirable: above 45
    borderline: 41-45
    undesirable: below 40

  • Triglycerides (Tryglicerydes) [mg/dl]
    desirable: below 150
    borderline: 151-199
    undesirable: above 200

   Having elevated triglycerides may also increase the risk of heart disease. The same factors like in the case of cholesterol (exercises, a good diet, and correct weight) can decrease triglycerides.

Combating high cholesterol

   Many factors  such as genetics, weight, lack of activity (exercises) and poor diet contribute to high cholesterol. Understanding how these factors affect your cholesterol is important in the prevention and treatment of high cholesterol. 

    Just as some people inherit physical characteristics from their parents, others inherit an increased likelihood of developing high cholesterol. If you have a family history of heart disease or high cholesterol, it is important to focus on those aspects which you can control rather than feeling genetically doomed. By maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and eating a low-fat, well-balanced diet you will decrease your chances of developing heart disease.

    Accumulating excess weight is generally associated with increased total and LDL cholesterol. Every individual responds differently to weight loss, however most people find that blood cholesterol drops as weight decreases. The best way to lose weight and lower cholesterol is through increased activity coupled with low-fat eating.

    Exercise is very important in controlling cholesterol levels. Not only does total and LDL cholesterol tend to decrease with activity, but HDL cholesterol increases. In order to get this effect "aerobic" activity is best. Aerobic exercise is any exercise that is continuous, rhythmical and involves large muscle groups. Most aerobic exercise end with the letter "ing" (walking, running, rowing, cycling, swimming, rope skipping, dancing, hiking, and skating). The cholesterol lowering effect of exercise is greatest when individuals exercise at least 3 times per week for 30 minutes or more. 

    Diet is also a major component of decreasing blood cholesterol. A proper diet can help lower cholesterol for several reasons. Diet modifications are essential for weight loss but can effect cholesterol levels even if weight remains unchanged. Also, a proper diet is essential to provide energy for those engaging in daily aerobic exercise. Fat is often targeted as the main dietary factor which affects blood cholesterol. Fat serves many functions in the body therefore, a fat free diet is not a healthy diet. However, the amount and type of fat in the diet is important in controlling cholesterol. Other dietary suggestions

  • dietary fiber binds cholesterol and can help in cholesterol reduction. Choosing whole grain products (bran cereal, whole wheat bread) as well as fresh fruits and vegetables will increase dietary fiber intake,

  • read food labels. Food labels are required to list ingredients as well as the amount of fat, saturated fat and cholesterol in the food. Reading food labels will allow you to choose heart healthy foods,

  • select protein sources from: fish which contains omega-3 fatty acids and can be helpful in reducing the risk of heart disease lean cuts of meat (trim visible fats and look for little marbling), skinless poultry, cooked dry beans and legumes, eggs (limit 3-4 per week).

   In case of increased cholesterol and triglyceride concentration in blood the application of efficient low - cholesterol diet is important.

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