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My doctor told me that my cholesterol is too high and to watch my diet. Which foods contain cholesterol?

Only foods that come from animal sources contain cholesterol, such as: beef, pork, venison, chicken, eggs, shellfish, cream, butter and cheese. However, the amount of saturated fat in our diets is far more important because saturated fat raises blood cholesterol levels. A good way to identify "saturated" fat is if it is solid at room temperature. (Vegetable oils, are rich in polyunsaturated fat, and are liquid at room temperature.) The number one source of saturated fat in the American diet is ground beef. To lower your cholesterol levels, start a regular exercise program--with your doctor's approval. Exercise often leads to weight loss which brings cholesterol levels down. Fill your plate with smaller portions of meats and gravies, and serve yourself larger servings of plant-based foods--fiber-rich cereals, whole grain breads, dry beans (legumes), peas and plenty of fruits and vegetables. These foods contain fiber which can help lower cholesterol. Ask your doctor for a referral to a registered dietitian for more help with your diet.

Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D., Former Nutritional Sciences Specialist, University of Missouri-Columbia

University of Missouri Extension Site Administrator: 

Last updated:06/17/2015
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