Meat does supply cholesterol (beef 81mg), and in combination with the saturated fat content, the risk of an excess blood cholesterol level (BCL) is common for people who consume daily meat meals plus other rich cholesterol foods and have various risk factors. The factors that are vital for lowering blood cholesterol levels are the omega-3s: foods such as walnuts, hazel nuts, pecan nuts and cold-pressed flax oil, in particular, and fish are rich in omega-3. Apart from lowering the BCL, the omega-3s can also lower blood triglycerides, or blood fat levels. The omega-6s also help to lower blood cholesterol. The mono-unsaturated lipids also lower blood cholesterol and in addition they moderately reduce the bad low density lipoproteins (LDL) and maintain the good high density lipoproteins (HDL). Olive oil is a rich source of mono-unsaturated lipids and it is recommended for its ability to reduce the ‘bad fats’. Other risk factors for regular meat eaters that increase BCL are smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, refined foods, takeaway foods, chocolate, milk, cream, cheese, eggs, and especially prawns, crabs, crayfish, brains, kidney, liver and sausages. Added lipids in cooking can easily top the scales!
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The maximum daily cholesterol intake for an adult is 300mg per day. One meal of 2 sausages and 1 egg will easily exceed this. Many common meals will exceed the maximum daily cholesterol and saturated fat intake too. To be sure your cholesterol is not climbing up the wall, have a medical check, especially if you have a regular meat diet and other associated risk factors.
Cholesterol is produced by the liver at approx.1000mg per day. It is required for hormone production, cell structure, vitamin D synthesis and the metabolism of fats. Excess cholesterol intake from foods can lead to the narrowing of arteries, which directly affects blood flow and pressure as the cholesterol particles, especially the LDL, can attach to the arterial walls.
In addition, saturated fats and refined carbohydrates—white bread, sugar, etc.—increase the LDL bad lipids in the bloodstream and increase blood cholesterol levels. Research has shown that dietary cholesterol inhibits the anti-cancer action of the large white blood cells.
NOTE: All amounts in this blog are measured in milligrams (mg) per 100 grams, unless stated otherwise.