When the new 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans came out earlier this year, they brought with them a new way of thinking about dietary cholesterol. The highlight of this new guidance on cholesterol is the limited connection between the cholesterol found in our food (listed on a nutrition facts panel) and the serum (blood) cholesterol that your doctor measures. This limited connection may impact your food choices in the future. Put simply, it means that foods you have previously shunned due to their dietary cholesterol should find a place on your plate once again.
While the guidance on cholesterol may have changed, our goal to aim for nutrient rich foods low in saturated fat has remained the same. With that in mind here are four foods worth highlighting that contain cholesterol, but are also full of great-for-you vitamins and minerals and some tips on the healthiest way to enjoy them.
The brilliant yellow yolk you have been casting aside is actually an excellent source of important nutrients like lutein, which is associated with better eye health, and folate which assists with many cellular functions and a reduced risk of heart disease. Pretty ironic considering egg yolks have been avoided as part of a heart healthy diet. Bring eggs back into your diet with an easy recipe for Mushroom Egg Cups or with this better-for-you version of fried rice.
Yes, 3 oz of shrimp contains about 135mg of cholesterol, but did you know it is also rich in potassium, phosphorus and calcium too? With this combination of micronutrients, shrimp plays a role in maintaining healthy bones. Start with this recipe for Tandoori Shrimp Skewers, which is better than the take-out version of the same dish and will save you calories (and money!).
Lean red meat
A source of both cholesterol and saturated fat, red meat has been avoided as part of a heart healthy diet. That said, it is also a great source of protein and important micronutrients like iron, B vitamins, phosphorus and potassium. It’s important to note that a diet low in saturated fat remains a key recommendation in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, which makes foods such as lean red meat still something we should limit in our diet. The best way to enjoy lean red meat? Move it from “center stage” on your plate and incorporate it into a stir fry, grain dish or skewer it along with vegetables as a kebab.
Reduced fat cheese
Cheese is one of those foods we love, but has always topped the “no” list when it comes to lowering cholesterol. However, it’s also a terrific protein source and an ideal way to round out a snack or an appetizer plate. Similar to how we should approach our red meat consumption, our cheese intake should be limited due to the saturated fat it offers. A common choice for my cheese board is Cabot 50% Sharp Light Cheddar, which I serve alongside whole grain crackers, dried fruit and nuts to guests and use to complete an easy family meal. Shredded or crumbled reduced fat cheese is also an ideal way to turn a plate of veggies and greens into a satisfying salad.
About the author:
Allison Stowell, M.S., RD, CDN, is the registered dietitian for the Guiding Stars Licensing Company, a company devoted to helping you find the good, better and best choices at the supermarket. A working mom of two, Allison enables individuals to make positive, sustainable changes in their eating habits by stressing conscious eating, improving relationships with food and offering a non-diet approach for reaching and maintaining ideal body weight.
*This is a guest post. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect my own.