Poultry and fish contain less cholesterol and saturated fat than beef, lamb and pork. Dietary cholesterol is found in animal products such as red meat, poultry skin, butter, cheese and cream. Individuals who are managing cholesterol levels can choose heart-healthy cuts of red meat that contain lower amounts of saturated fat, including loins, rounds or sirloin cuts.
Diets that are high in saturated fat have a negative impact on cholesterol levels, but a limited amount of saturated fat is acceptable in a heart-healthy diet. The daily recommended amount of saturated fat for people with high cholesterol is no more than 5 to 6 percent of total calories. People can reduce the overall fat of a dish by trimming excess visible fat prior to cooking and by baking, stewing, broiling or grilling the dish rather than frying it. White poultry meat is leaner than dark meat, and the skin should always be removed.
Managing the types of fat in a diet is important for reducing and managing cholesterol, including replacing saturated fat with healthy unsaturated fats. These include unhydrogenated vegetable oils such as olive, safflower, canola and sunflower oil. Some plant-based tropical oils, such as coconut, palm and palm kernel oil, contain saturated fat, while margarines that contain plant stanol or sterol esters can help to improve cholesterol. Additionally, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish such as salmon are unsaturated and can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.