Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in all parts of your body. Your body makes some cholesterol, and some cholesterol comes from the food you eat. Your body needs a little bit of cholesterol to work properly. But too much cholesterol can clog your arteries and lead to heart disease.
Cholesterol is found in eggs, dairy products, meat, and poultry. Egg yolks and organ meats (liver, kidney, sweetbread, and brain) are high in cholesterol. Fish generally contains less cholesterol than other meats, but some shellfish are high in cholesterol. Foods of plant origin (vegetables, fruits, grains, cereals, nuts, and seeds) contain no cholesterol. Fat content is not a good measure of cholesterol content. For example, liver and other organ meats are low in fat, but very high in cholesterol.
More than half of the adult population has blood cholesterol levels higher than the desirable range. High cholesterol levels often begin in childhood. Some children may be at higher risk due to a family history of high cholesterol.
To lower high cholesterol levels:
– Limit total fat intake to 25 – 35% of total daily calories. Less than 7% of daily calories should be from saturated fat, no more than 10% should be from polyunsaturated fat, and no more than 20% from monounsaturated fat.
– Eat less than 200 mg of dietary cholesterol per day.
– Get more fiber in your diet.
– Lose weight.
– Increase physical activity.