People are becoming more and more health conscious, and often seafood is touted as a great, healthy food for people concerned about their diet. But recently, research has begun to suggest that the regular consumption of high amounts of seafood may lead to the development of high cholesterol levels. Is this true? And what does this mean for seafood lovers? This article answers the question–will avoiding seafood help you lower your blood cholesterol?
What is Cholesterol?
Before we analyze the question regarding cholesterol in seafood, it is important to understand what cholesterol is. Cholesterol is a product that is found in some foods. It is divided into two groups, depending on its impact on the body–LDL cholesterol, otherwise known as “lousy” or “bad” cholesterol, can cause arteries to clog and is very dangerous in that it can lead to the development of cardiovascular disease. HDL cholesterol, or “healthy” cholesterol, actually helps in the elimination of LDL cholesterol, thereby aiding in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and a variety of other dangerous conditions.
What Types of Seafood Contain High Cholesterol Levels
Typically, seafood is thought of as being relatively healthy. However, the consumption of some types of fish have been found to lead to the development of high LDL cholesterol levels. Typically, shellfish are the major culprits in this case. For example, lobster, oysters, shrimp, and other similar types of fish have been found to have cholesterol levels similar to that of red meat. And, unfortunately, you can not tell by looking at one of these pieces of fish to determine if it specifically has a high cholesterol content. For best results, consume this type of seafood only in moderation.
Does Avoiding Seafood Make Your Cholesterol Level Decrease?
If only it were that easy! Unfortunately, no, avoiding seafood will not make your blood cholesterol drop. Cholesterol is found in a variety of other foods, such as beef, dairy, and other products and it is almost impossible to avoid eating cholesterol altogether. In addition, everyone has some naturally occurring cholesterol in the body that is a result of genetics. The statement that avoiding seafood will help to lower your blood cholesterol levels is a myth.
What Does Cause Your Cholesterol Level to Drop
There are some foods that have been found to cause a significant drop in cholesterol levels–namely, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that are rich in fiber appear to be especially successful in causing a drop in cholesterol levels. Fiber acts as sort of natural sponge, and during digestion is able to absorb some of the cholesterol in the body, thereby effectively reducing cholesterol content. In addition to increasing your fiber intake, regular exercise also appears to be a great way to impact your blood cholesterol. For best results, try to exercise for at least thirty minutes five days a week.