3 Foods Surprisingly High in Cholesterol

As the holiday season comes to a wrap, people are realizing all that delicious indulgence in decadent meals and sugary sweets has taken a toll on their waistlines. Sure, the enjoyment was worth the extra padding, but aside from no longer being able to squeeze into a pair of skinny jeans, high cholesterol can be a concern for those watching their levels.

According to Health Central, "Cholesterol naturally occurs in all parts of the body, and that it is necessary for normal bodily functions. It is present in your brain, nerves, muscle, skin, liver, intestines, and heart. And, your body uses cholesterol to produce many hormones, vitamin D, and the bile acids which help to digest fat. However, only a small amount of cholesterol is needed for all of these needs."

That said, too much cholesterol can cause health issues, most notably heart disease, and cholesterol consumption should be limited to just 300 mg per day or less. Note these 3 foods below which you may have never realized are relatively high in cholesterol, despite their deliciousness and seemingly healthful reputations. Of course, moderation is key, so unless you've spoken with your doctor and have been told to avoid these foods at all costs, a bite or two now and then won't make much of a dent in your diet.

1. Cream Cheese

What's a bagel without a schmear of rich and tangy cream cheese? For one thing, it's a bagel that's a lot lower in cholesterol. A scant one ounce serving of cream cheese packs in 27 mg of cholesterol as per The Street. And who uses just an ounce?

Rather than going for cream cheese, consider a spread of sugar free preserves, or a fat free cheese instead. Think of cream cheese as a treat and save your fill for a weekend brunch extravagance rather than an everyday breakfast staple. Not only will it be something to look forward to, but you'll keep an eye on your cholesterol consumption in the process.

2. Lobster

While it's probably not every day that lobster's on your menu, did you ever consider the succulent shellfish to be a high cholesterol food? Not likely, but a three ounce serving has 61 mg cholesterol as per Everyday Health… and that's without the melted butter you're sure to dunk each morsel into.

Of course, lobster is the king of all shellfish and it may be hard to find a suitable substitute, but prepared well, salmon, tuna, mackerel, and trout are all heart-healthy, as per WebMD. Bake or poach the fish in fresh herbs, marinades, and seasonings and you'll have a protein-rich meal minus the cholesterol. Save the lobster for a super-special occasion and you'll relish in every rich bite!

3. Liver

Many parents serve their kids liver for an iron-packed meal they believe is healthy for them. And lots of people love the rich organ meat throughout their lives. While liver has some healthful qualities, the cholesterol count is through the roof.

According to LiveStrong, "Chicken and veal liver contain more cholesterol than beef or pork liver. Chicken liver has the most, with 479 milligrams of cholesterol in a 3-ounce serving, while veal liver contains 434 milligrams. If you normally eat beef liver, you'll get 337 milligrams from a 3-ounce portion. Pork liver has the smallest amount, yet it's still high in cholesterol because a 3-ounce serving supplies 302 milligrams."

If you're a liver lover, keep your portion to a bite or two and consume infrequently for your heart health. It may be yummy, but the risks outweigh the rewards.

For other high cholesterol foods to look out for, check out Bel Marra Health. And if you're seeking foods that can help lower cholesterol, the site offers some tasty suggestions including oats, strawberries, beans, tea, and more.

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