Here are 7 high-cholesterol foods that are incredibly nutritious.
People often avoid eggs out of fear that they may cause cholesterol to skyrocket. However, research shows that eggs don’t negatively impact cholesterol levels and that eating whole eggs can lead to increases in heart-protective HDL (12).
Aside from being rich in cholesterol, eggs are an excellent source of highly absorbable protein and loaded with beneficial nutrients like B vitamins, selenium and vitamin A (13).
A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of cheese provides 27 mg of cholesterol, or about 9% of the RDI (16).
Although cheese is often associated with increased cholesterol, several studies have shown that full-fat cheese does not negatively impact cholesterol levels.
One 12-week study in 162 people found that a high intake of 80 grams or about 3 ounces of full-fat cheese per day did not raise “bad” LDL cholesterol, compared to the same amount of low-fat cheese or the equal number of calories from bread and jam (17).
Since cheese is high in calories, stick to the recommended serving size of 1–2 ounces at a time to keep portions in check.
They’re also high in cholesterol. For example, a 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of shrimp provides 166 mg of cholesterol — which is over 50% of the RDI (22).
Populations that consume more seafood have demonstratively lower rates of heart disease, diabetes and inflammatory diseases like arthritis (25).
4. Pasture-Raised Steak
A 4-ounce (112-gram) serving of pasture-raised steak packs about 62 mg of cholesterol, or 20% of the RDI (29).
5. Organ Meats
Cholesterol-rich organ meats — such as heart, kidney and liver — are highly nutritious.
For example, chicken heart is an excellent source of the powerful antioxidant CoQ10, as well as vitamin B12, iron and zinc.
It’s also high in cholesterol, with a 2-ounce (56-gram) serving providing 105 mg of cholesterol, or 36% of the RDI (32).
One study in over 9,000 Korean adults found that those with a moderate intake of unprocessed meat — including organ meats — had a lower risk of developing heart disease than those with the lowest consumption (33).
Sardines are not only loaded with nutrients but also a tasty and convenient protein source that can be added to a wide variety of dishes.
One 3.75-ounce (92-gram) serving of these tiny fish contains 131 mg of cholesterol, or 44% of the RDI, but it also packs 63% of the RDI for vitamin D, 137% of the RDI for B12 and 35% of the RDI for calcium (34).
What’s more, sardines are an excellent source of iron, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, magnesium and vitamin E.
7. Full-Fat Yogurt
Full-fat yogurt is a cholesterol-rich food packed with nutrients like protein, calcium, phosphorus, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and potassium.
One cup (245 grams) of full-fat yogurt contains 31.9 mg of cholesterol, or 11% of the RDI (35).
Recent research shows that increased consumption of full-fat fermented dairy products is associated with reductions in “bad” LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as lower risks of stroke, heart disease and diabetes (36).
Plus, fermented dairy products like yogurt benefit intestinal health by positively impacting friendly gut bacteria (37).