Cheese is one of the popular food choices that are likely to raise a person’s cholesterol, but if you’re craving a nibble, which ones are the best to eat? When it comes to selecting cheeses, one major ingredient to be mindful of is the amount of saturated fat. Leading charity, Heart UK, explained how saturated fat raises cholesterol levels.
“Eating foods that contain too much saturated fat and too little unsaturated fat changes the way the liver handles cholesterol,” Charity said.
“Our liver cells have LDL receptors. When LDL (bad) cholesterol passes into the blood, these receptors move cholesterol out of the blood and into the liver to break it down.
“Research suggests that eating too much saturated fat causes the receptors to stop working so well, and cholesterol builds up in the blood.”
Below is a list of the types of cheese that contain the least amount of saturated fat:
- Cheddar (24.9 g)
- Swiss (24.1g)
- American Cheese Spread (18.7 g)
- Mozzarella (15.6 g)
- Parmesan (15.4 g)
- Ricotta, whole milk (8 g)
- Ricotta, skim milk (6.1 g).
Keep the portion size in mind while munching on paneer, as too much of any one thing can be harmful to your health.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) notes that cheese is often high in saturated fat, but “you don’t need to cut cheese out of your diet”.
However, if you already have high cholesterol, “use high-fat cheeses in moderation.”
Low-fat cheeses are recommended, such as:
- Low fat cottage cheese.
Others, on the other hand, can be extremely salty, and should be considered a once in a Blue Moon treat. These include Roquefort and Halloumi.
It’s also worth noting that goat’s cheese contains about 26 grams of fat per 100 grams, which is the same as Camembert, Brie, and Edam.
A comprehensive list of cheeses, and their saturated fat content per 100 grams, includes:
- Mascarpone (29 grams)
- Stilton (23 g)
- Cheddar, Red Leicester, Gloucester (22 g)
- Parmesan (19 grams)
- Brie (18 grams)
- Paneer (18 g)
- Soft goat’s cheese (18 g)
- Edam (16 grams)
- Processed cheese, such as cheese strings (14 g)
- Camembert (14 g)
- Feta (14 g)
- Mozzarella (14 g).
Foods That Help Lower Cholesterol
Certain foods eaten during the festive season can help reduce cholesterol levels.
Heart UK confirms that nuts like almonds and walnuts are a good addition to your cheeseboard.
The charity elaborates: “Nuts are a good source of unsaturated fat and are low in saturated fat, a mix that can help keep your cholesterol under control.”
In addition, 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 another [unhealthy] things.”
Have another great cholesterol-friendly fruit to add to your cheeseboard, like grapes and apples.
Fruits contain vitamins, minerals and fiber that help you become healthy.
Heart UK said: “Certain types of fiber may help lower your cholesterol. It also prevents some cholesterol from being absorbed from the intestines into the bloodstream.”