Cholesterol is a steroid lipid (fat) found in the blood of all animals and is necessary for proper functioning of our cell membranes and production of hormones. While there can be negative health benefits associated with low cholesterol, cholesterol deficiency is rare. Our bodies already manufacture all the cholesterol we need, so it is not necessary to consume more. Excessive consumption of cholesterol has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Cholesterol is only found in animal food products, and thus, vegans are likely to have lower cholesterol than non-vegans. It is recommended that you buy a Cholesterol Test Kit, so you can monitor your cholesterol levels at home and see which diet works best for you. The current percent daily value (DV) for cholesterol is 300mg. Below is a list of high cholesterol foods, click here for an extended list of cholesterol rich foods. To lower your cholesterol, read the article on cholesterol lowering foods.
1: Egg Yolk
The yolks of eggs have the most cholesterol of any food with 1234mg per 100 gram serving or 411% of the DV. A single egg yolk will provide 210mg (70% DV) of cholesterol, while a whole egg provides slightly more with 212mg (71% DV). Thus all the cholesterol in eggs is found in their yolks.
2: Caviar (Fish Roe)
A common spread for breads in Northern and Eastern Europe, caviar is packed with cholesterol. 100 grams provides 588mg (196% DV), that is 94mg (31% DV) per tablespoon.
3: Liver, Pate, Foie Gras
Cholesterol is manufactured by the liver, and therefore liver in cuisine contains a lot of cholesterol. The liver from most any meat will contain 564mg of cholesterol per 100 grams or 188% of the DV. Foie Gras (and most pâtés) contain 255mg (85% DV) per 100g serving,or 20mg (7% DV) per tablespoon.
Common in cakes, cookies, on bread, and vegetables, butter is everywhere. 100 grams of butter packs 215mg (72% DV) of cholesterol, one stick has more with 243mg (81% DV), and one tablespoon contains 30mg (10% DV).
5: Shrimp (Prawns, Camarones)
100 grams of shrimp will contain 195mg (65% DV) of cholesterol. A single large shrimp contains 11mg (4% DV), and an ounce of shrimp will provide around 55mg (18% DV).
6: Fast Foods (Breakfasts)
Fast foods, the breakfasts in particular, are packed with cholesterol. A ham, egg, and cheese biscuit will provide 172mg (57% DV) per 100g serving, or 246mg (82% DV) of cholesterol per biscuit. An egg and sausage biscuit has even more with 261mg (87% DV).
7: Oil Packed Fish
Although thought to be good for your heart, the oil of fish, and oil packed fish, does contain quite a bit of cholesterol. Oil packed Atlantic Sardines carry 142mg (47% DV) of cholesterol per 100g. That is 131mg (44% DV) per can, and 17mg (6% DV) in a single sardine.
A vegetarian source of protein, and also a good source of calcium, cheese is a tasty addition to most any dish. Port de Salut contains the most cholesterol with 123mg (41% DV) per 100 gram serving. That is 21mg (7% DV) per one inch cube. Other cheeses high in cholesterol include: Fontina (39% DV), Gouda (38%), Cream Cheese (37% DV), Gruyere (37%), and Cheddar (35% DV).
9: Processed Meats (Sausage, Lamb, Duck)
The amount of cholesterol in any processed meat depends on the cut used, and the amount of fat added during processing. Liver sausage and bratwurst will contain around 158mg (50% DV) of cholesterol per 100 gram serving. That is 63mg (21% DV) per link. In terms of meats, lamb and duck will contain the most cholesterol all things being equal.
10: Shellfish (Oysters, Clams, and Mussels)
Shellfish can be eaten raw, baked, steamed, fried, or made into chowder. Wild Eastern Oysters contain the most cholesterol with 105mg (35% DV) per 100g serving. That is 30mg (10% DV) per ounce, or 7mg (3% DV) per oyster.