Cholesterol is an important steroid which is essential for proper cell formation and health. Some foods are particularly high in cholesterol, and consuming excessive amounts of these foods may raise cholesterol levels and increase the risks of developing illnesses such as heart disease. Some high cholesterol foods include eggs, dairy products, and some types of meat. As a general rule, all animal products carry the risk of increasing cholesterol levels and should be eaten in moderation. A doctor or nutritionist should be consulted with any questions or concerns about the role of high cholesterol foods in an individual situation.
Eggs are among the most well-known high cholesterol foods available. In fact, one egg contains almost all of the daily recommended amount of cholesterol. While a lot of people enjoy having eggs for breakfast, healthier choices may include whole grain cereals and fruit. Those who still want the occasional egg may choose a low-cholesterol egg substitute or use only the egg whites in omelets. Fast food is notorious for being high in cholesterol and should be completely avoided whenever possible.
Certain dairy products are notorious for being high cholesterol foods. Butter, cheese, and whole milk are particularly high in cholesterol and should be used in limited amounts. Lower-cholesterol dairy products are available and often taste just as good as the traditional alternatives. Ice cream is loaded with cholesterol and should only be used as an occasional treat. Fresh fruit is a much healthier snack alternative.
Red meat is high on the list of high cholesterol foods due to the high fat content. When choosing beef, leaner cuts are considered to be healthier alternatives. Organ meats such as liver are particularly high in cholesterol and should only be eaten on occasion. Chicken does contain some cholesterol but can be a healthy meat choice if cooked without added fats such as oil or butter. Broiled or baked seafood are relatively low in cholesterol, as long as the temptation to drench the seafood in butter is avoided.
Desserts such as cakes or muffins are often high cholesterol foods, depending on the manner in which they are prepared. To make these foods a bit healthier, the number of eggs in the recipe can often be reduced, and applesauce can be used as an oil substitute. Cakes can be garnished with fresh fruit instead of heavy frosting, further lowering cholesterol intake and allowing these sweet indulgences to play a role in an overall healthy diet.