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Animal-Based Food Low in Cholesterol

Food from animals will have at least some cholesterol; however, the amount of cholesterol varies, so there is low cholesterol food that comes from animals. Let's look at these foods according to their various groups.
Poultry, Fish, and Meat Substitutes
In general, chicken and turkey are low in saturated fat and cholesterol, especially when the skin is removed. Most fish is also considered low in cholesterol along with being low in saturated fat.
Some shellfish would be considered a low cholesterol food; others would not. But shellfish does have little saturated fat and total fat. Even shrimp can be enjoyed occasionally on a heart-healthy diet, provided you eat less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day. For example, 3 ounces of steamed shrimp has 167 milligrams of cholesterol.
Keep in mind when considering poultry and fish food that even the leanest meat, chicken, fish, and shellfish have saturated fat and cholesterol; limit the total amount you eat to 5 ounces or less per day.
Dry peas and beans and tofu (bean curd) are great meat substitutes since they are low cholesterol foods. Dry peas and beans also have a lot of fiber, which can help to lower blood cholesterol (see Cholesterol Lowering Food).
Try adding a half-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.
Egg yolks are high in dietary cholesterol -- each contains about 213 milligrams. So, you should eat no more than four yolks per week. This includes the egg yolks in baked goods and processed foods. Check the label to see how much cholesterol the food contains, or ask the bakery if the recipe uses whole eggs. Limit these types of foods to occasional treats.
Egg whites have no cholesterol, and you can substitute them for whole eggs in recipes -- two egg whites are equal to one whole egg. You can also use cholesterol-free egg substitute in place of whole eggs -- in many baked goods, you can't tell the difference.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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