Cheese is among popular food choices that are likely to raise a person’s cholesterol, but if you are longing for a nibble, which cheeses are the best ones to eat? One key ingredient you need to be wary of when it comes to selecting cheeses is the saturated fat content. Leading charity, Heart UK, explained how saturated fat raises cholesterol levels.
“Eating foods that have too much saturated fat, and too little unsaturated fat, changes the way the liver handles cholesterol,” the charity stated.
“Our liver cells have LDL receptors on them. When LDL (bad) cholesterol passes by in the blood, these receptors take the cholesterol out of the blood and into the liver to be broken down.
“Research suggests that eating too much saturated fat stops the receptors from working so well, and cholesterol builds up in the blood.”
Below is the list of cheese types that contain the most to the least amount of saturated fat:
- Cheddar (24.9g)
- Swiss (24.1g)
- American cheese spread (18.7g)
- Mozzarella (15.6g)
- Parmesan (15.4g)
- Ricotta, whole milk (8g)
- Ricotta, part skim milk (6.1g).
Be mindful of portion sizes when nibbling on cheese, as too much of any one cheese can be harmful to your health.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) noted that cheese is often high in saturated fat, but “you don’t have to cut cheese out of your diet”.
However, if you already have high cholesterol, “use high-fat cheeses sparingly”.
Lower-fat cheeses are recommended, such as:
- Cottage cheese
- Reduced-fat cheeses.
Others, on the other hand, can be extremely salty, and should be considered a one-off treat, once in a blue moon. These include roquefort and halloumi.
It is also worth noting that goat’s cheese contains around 26g of fat per 100g, which is similar to camembert, brie, and edam.
An extended list of cheeses, and their saturated fat content per 100g, includes:
- Mascarpone (29g)
- Stilton (23g)
- Cheddar, Red Leicester, Gloucester (22g)
- Parmesan (19g)
- Brie (18g)
- Paneer (18g)
- Soft goat’s cheese (18g)
- Edam (16g)
- Processed cheese, e.g. cheese strings (14g)
- Camembert (14g)
- Feta (14g)
- Mozzarella (14g).
Foods to help lower cholesterol foods
Some foods eaten over the festive period can help to lower cholesterol levels.
Heart UK confirmed that nuts are a good addition to your cheeseboard, such as almonds and walnuts.
The charity elaborated: “Nuts are a good source of unsaturated fats and are lower in saturated fats, a mix which can help to keep your cholesterol in check.”
Moreover, nuts contain protein, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, natural plant sterols and plant nutrients.
“They’re also filling, so you’re less likely to snack on other [unhealthy] things.”
Another great cholesterol-friendly addition to your cheeseboard is fruit, such as grapes and apples.
Fruits contain vitamins, minerals and fibre that help you to become healthier.
Heart UK added: “Some types of fibre can help to lower your cholesterol. It blocks some cholesterol from being absorbed from the intestines into the blood stream.”
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