Cholesterol: How much is too much?

People are often told to monitor their cholesterol consumption. But it can be difficult to know how much cholesterol a daily diet contains.

People with heart problems or at risk for heart problems or those with high cholesterol will often be instructed by a doctor to make dietary changes to reduce cholesterol consumption. Generally the guideline is to take in 300 or fewer milligrams per day of dietary cholesterol.

Cholesterol is only found in foods that come from animals. This means that fruits, vegetables and grains will not have any cholesterol, unless they are mixed with animal products, such as in baked or processed goods.

Although items like shrimp are high in cholesterol, they can still be heart-healthy options in moderation. According to the American Heart Association, shrimp and crayfish have more cholesterol than most other types of seafood but are lower in total fat and saturated fat than most meats and poultry. Also, shrimp contain omega-3 fatty acids that benefit the heart by decreasing risk of abnormal heartbeat.

To help people make smarter choices about foods and to learn the cholesterol content of many of their favorite choices, here’s a list of the cholesterol content of common menu items.

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