Although fish contains small amounts of cholesterol, it is low in saturated fat and can be eaten if someone is watching their cholesterol levels. The beneficial omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish may also help prevent cardiovascular disease associated with high cholesterol.
Some people may wonder if they can eat certain foods, such as fish that contain cholesterol, if a doctor recommends a diet to lower their cholesterol levels.
This article answers some questions about cholesterol and diet and advises people on what types of fish to eat. Also, it gives nutrient profiles for some fish choices and ideas on how to include them in meals.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that the body needs to make hormones and vitamins and to build healthy cells. However, having too much of the wrong kind of cholesterol is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
The two types of cholesterol are low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which doctors consider “bad” cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which is beneficial “good” cholesterol.
Lipoproteins transport cholesterol throughout the body via the bloodstream. As a result, LDL cholesterol can build up in blood vessels, oxidize, and form dangerous plaques in arteries.
Diet is one factor that can affect cholesterol levels. Other factors include genetics, medications, and physical activity levels.
If someone removes the skin from poultry, removes visible fat from meat, and grills meat and fish rather than frying it, they can also reduce their saturated fat intake.
Fatty and lean fish are low in saturated fat, making them a healthy addition to the diet. This means that people trying to lower their cholesterol levels don’t need to avoid any particular type of fish.
Fish and seafood also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and have many health benefits, including
People who want to lower their cholesterol levels or improve their cholesterol profile can eat fish without worrying about adverse effects.
In order to maintain a low saturated fat intake, a person may use an alternative cooking method to frying with oil, such as baking, poaching, or grilling.
People can choose leaner fish like sea bass or cod, or fatty fish high in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, mackerel, and herring.
Another consideration when choosing fish to eat is mercury levels, as these can be higher in some fish and seafood than others.
Some of the best low-mercury fish choices highlighted by the
- Atlantic mackerel
- black bass
- freshwater trout
Fish is a source of good fats and protein and contains no carbohydrates or fiber. In addition, fish with bones are rich in calcium and all fish contain beneficial vitamins such as selenium and vitamin B12.
Here are some examples of healthy fish, their nutrient profiles, and ideas for preparing or cooking them.
- Calories: 206
- Protein: 22.1g
- Saturated fatty acids: 2.4 g
- Cholesterol: 63 milligrams (mg)
Healthy ways to cook salmon include poaching, broiling, and baking in foil. To keep saturated fat to a minimum, avoid using butter and instead use olive oil and flavorings such as citrus, garlic, and soy sauce. For extra flavor, try adding fresh herbs like parsley, basil or cilantro.
People can use salmon in Asian recipes, salads, or with eggs for breakfast.
- Calories: 168
- Protein: 23.8g
- Saturated fatty acids: 1.65 g
- Cholesterol: 70mg
To keep saturated fat to a minimum, try broiling or broiling trout or poaching it in a skillet with aromatic vegetables and broth. Or, try using trout in salads, fish pies or Foil (baked) with fresh herbs.
- Calories: 208
- Protein: 24.6g
- Saturated fatty acids: 1.53 g
- Cholesterol: 142mg
Choose fresh canned sardines in oil or tomato sauce for a lower fat option. For a quick lunch, top whole grain toast with sardines in tomato sauce and serve with a green salad.
If using fresh sardines, try marinating them for 30 minutes in minced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and paprika, then grilling or baking them. Once cooked, serve with chopped parsley and lemon wedges.
- Calories: 210
- Protein: 28.9g
- Saturated fatty acids: 2.2 g
- Cholesterol: 85mg
A can of anchovies is a versatile ingredient to add to pizzas, salads and sauces, imparting a meaty umami flavor. Try adding anchovies to whole-grain bread with sliced tomatoes and basil for an open sandwich, or include them in tomato-garlic-olive pasta sauce.
People who want to control their cholesterol or who have been diagnosed with high cholesterol by their doctor can include fish in their diet.
Fish is low in saturated fat and experts recommend eating fish regularly for heart health.
The omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish may help prevent cardiovascular disease.
To manage cholesterol levels and cardiovascular health, it is important that people eat a varied and balanced diet and exercise regularly.