Blood Cholesterol Level
To lower your blood cholesterol level, choose only the leanest meats, fish, shellfish, and poultry. Even the leanest of these have saturated fat and cholesterol, so limit the total amount you eat to 5 ounces or less per day.
Often when people cut back on meat they eat cheese instead, thinking they are cutting back on saturated fat and cholesterol. A serving of most natural and many processed cheeses have less cholesterol, but more than six times the saturated fat in a serving of chicken without the skin and almost twice that of lean round steak.
- Choose chicken and turkey without skin or remove skin before eating.
- White meat contains less saturated fat than the dark meat.
- Limit goose and duck, which are high in saturated fat, even with the skin removed.
- Some chicken and turkey hot dogs are lower in saturated fat and total fat than pork and beef hot dogs. There are also “lean” beef hot dogs and vegetarian (made with tofu) franks that are low in fat and saturated fat.
Fish and Shellfish
- Some fish, like cod, have less saturated fat than chicken or meat.
- Shellfish varies in cholesterol content. Shellfish have little saturated fat and total fat.
- Shrimp can be enjoyed occasionally provided you eat less than 200 milligrams of cholesterol a day. For example, 3 ounces of steamed shrimp has 167 milligrams of cholesterol.
- Dry peas and beans and tofu (bean curd) are great meat substitutes that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
- Dry peas and beans have a lot of fiber, which can help to lower blood cholesterol.
- Try adding 1/2 cup of beans to pasta, soups, casseroles, and vegetable dishes.
- Tofu takes on the flavor of marinades well. Try marinating tofu in a nonfat dressing or a tangy sauce and grilling or baking for a heart healthy dish.