Cholesterol in Seafood: Does it Affect Your Lipid Profile?

July 27, 2020
Omega 3 fatty acids are capable of positively regulating your lipid profile and reducing cardiovascular risk.

Like other animal products, seafood contains cholesterol. However, this fact shouldn’t worry you. Until a few years ago, doctors recommended limiting your intake of this nutrient in your diet, as they believed that this contribution could modify the serum values ​​of LDL lipoprotein. However, studies have now shown that this isn’t the case. Find out about how seafood affects your lipid profile in this article.

For this reason, current dietary guidelines are much more permissive when it comes to fatty foods. Despite encouraging the consumption of polyunsaturated fats, which have beneficial effects on the lipid profile, they aren’t as restrictive with saturated lipids or with foods rich in cholesterol.

Cholesterol and cardiovascular disease

Currently, researchers doubt the influence of total cholesterol on cardiovascular risk. In fact, the chances of developing atheromatous plaques are linked to the oxidation of a small fraction of LDL cholesterol, as stated in an article published in the journal Current Medicinal Chemistry.

For this reason, current diet recommendations focus on avoiding this oxidative process. For this, they focus on eating vegetables rich in phytonutrients with antioxidant potential.

However, regulating your lipid profile may be beneficial in reducing the markers associated with metabolic health. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean dispensing with dietary cholesterol outright, but rather moderating your consumption of certain food groups.

You might also be interested in: 5 Foods that Fight and Eliminate Saturated Fat

Avoid trans fats to regulate cholesterol

If you want to increase HDL cholesterol, which has cardioprotective properties, it’s essential to control the intake of trans fats in your diet. Thus, you have to reduce your intake of processed, fried, and battered foods.

Subjecting vegetable oils to high temperatures promotes the creation of this type of inflammatory compounds, harmful to health. In fact, regular intake of trans fats is not only associated with a worsening of the lipid profile, but with an increased risk of developing complex diseases. This is stated in an article published in the journal Cardiology.

French fries being fried in a basket, sources of trans fats affect your lipid profile.

Foods that improve your lipid profile

In the same way that certain products can worsen your cardiovascular health and lipid profile, there are other foods capable of improving both parameters.

One example is omega 3 fatty acids, responsible for reducing systemic inflammation. Fatty fish and nuts are the main foods you can find these nutrients in. We recommend a regular intake to enjoy good health.

In addition, as we have previously commented, the regular consumption of foods rich in antioxidants is essential. These substances are responsible for preventing the oxidation of LDL lipoprotein, which can have a positive impact on your health. Above all, berries, such as blueberries, are rich in this class of nutrients.

Fish laid out on a table.

Learn more: 5 Signs That You’re Deficient in Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Don’t worry so much about dietary cholesterol

Dietary cholesterol isn’t as worrisome when you’re looking to reduce your cardiovascular risk. Neither is it bad if the objective is to regulate your lipid profile. For this reason, both eggs and shellfish are foods that you can eat within the framework of a healthy diet, even though they contain cholesterol.

If there you are likely to develop conditions related to uric acid, you should be careful with shellfish.

Under normal conditions, nutritionists categorize seafood as healthy and as a source of high-quality protein. This feature makes them necessary for both sedentary people and athletes.

Healthy diet to improve lipid profile

Although it’s true that the importance of cholesterol is still in question when establishing the risk of cardiovascular disease, it’s important to improve your lipid profile as much as possible. For this, you have to make sure you eat foods rich in antioxidants, as well as foods with anti-inflammatory properties.

It’s a good idea to reduce or restrict your intake of processed products. As for fresh food, this should be the undisputed protagonist of your diet. Seafood, along with other products from the animal kingdom, can and should make up a part of your usual diet, since they’re classified as healthy. Their cholesterol content won’t negatively affect your cardiovascular risk.

  • John Kattoor A., Kanuri SH., Mehta JL., Role of ox LDL LOX1 in atherogenesis. Curr Med Chem, 2019. 26 (9): 1693-1700.
  • Wilczek MM., Olszewski R., Krupienicz A., Trans fatty acids and cardiovascular disease: urgent need for legislation. Cardiology, 2017. 138 (4): 254-258.
  • Cachofeiro, V. (2009). Alteraciones del colesterol y enfermedad cardiovascular. Lopez Farré A., Macaya Miguel C. et al Libro de la salud cardiovascular. 1ª ed. Bilbao: Fundación BBVA, 131-139.