It is important that we differentiate between food that is high in cholesterol and foods that cause high cholesterol.
The cholesterol in food is called dietary cholesterol. Cholesterol is produce primarily by the liver. As such high cholesterol foods are mainly found in all animals and animal products, for example, egg yolks, meat, poultry, fish and higher fat milk products. Plant foods such as vegetable, fruits and nuts cannot produce and do not contain cholesterol.
About 80% of the cholesterol in our body is manufactured in our liver. Cholesterol is carried to various parts of our body by our blood in a form of fats. This is serum or blood cholesterol. If our body malfunctions it is produce excess cholesterol resulting in a high blood cholesterol reading. This is the reason why strict vegetarian can also have high cholesterol readings.
The remaining cholesterol is made out of saturated fatty food that we eat such as eggs, red meat and coconut. It is also made from the breakdown of sugar. Therefore eating too much sugar and carbohydrate rich food can result in excess cholesterol.
We should not be unduly worried about the saturated food that we eat as long as it is consumed in moderation. Prominent heart researcher Ancel Keys Ph. D, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota 1997 said that there is no connection whatsoever between the cholesterol in food and cholesterol in blood. Other studies such as the Framingham and Tecumseh long term studies also shows that people who ate the most cholesterol had roughly the same blood cholesterol level of those who ate the least.
The culprit is excessive carbohydrate intake and trans fats. Our modern lifestyle does not allow us to burn off most of the carbohydrates that we take. The rest is converted into fats. And eating trans fatty acids raises our bad cholesterol levels and lowers our good cholesterol. Unfortunately trans fats are present in most vegetable oils including most margarines unless they are cold pressed or extra virgin.
In addition to carbohydrated and trans fats, beware of processed and prepared foods such as cookies, pastries and muffins. They are high in saturated fats and are likely to contain trans fats and excessive amount of sugar.
Some foods appear to have a healthy effect on blood cholesterol levels. They are whole grains, such as oatmeal, oat bran and whole-wheat products and nuts, such as walnuts, almonds and brazil nuts. Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, fish oil supplements, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil appear to help too.
Knowing what are high cholesterol foods and limiting their intake does not guarantee lower cholesterol levels. You should also consider other methods of lowering cholesterol such as exercise, increase of fiber intake (vegetables), or usage of proven supplements that helps lower cholesterol.
And if all efforts fail, there are cholesterol drugs that can lower cholesterol levels.