Cholesterol is a type of natural fat present in the human body produced by the liver. Cholesterol has been known to be of 2 types – HDL (also known as the ‘good’ cholesterol) and LDL (commonly known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol). Over the years a lot of research has been done in this domain that clearly indicates that cholesterol gets deposited on the walls of your blood vessels, narrowing down the path for blood circulation. This can lead to severe health conditions like cardiac arrest, stroke, etc. Certain kinds of food items like high-fat dairy products and animal protein can lead to excessive accumulation of cholesterol in your body. This is what has led people to become conscious about their regular diet intake.(1,2)
Chicken is one of the most eaten livestock products across the world. Several research works have been done on the food value of chicken cooked in different ways and the food value of this hugely popular food item, especially whether it increases the level of bad cholesterol or not.
Is Chicken Bad for Cholesterol?
There has been a raging debate on animal meat being one of the most significant sources of cholesterol accumulation in the human body. Even chicken being an animal meat have come under this scrupulous scrutiny. Analysis has been done to understand its effect on raising cholesterol levels in the human body.(3) However, the truth here stands that chicken by its inherited nature has a lower cholesterol level as compared to other kinds of meat cuts.
Whether chicken is bad for cholesterol depends on a number of factors. The part of the chicken that is being cooked, the kind of preparation that has been selected for your recipe, are some of the aspects that can determine the cholesterol-raising impact of chicken.(1) It is observed that the breast pieces of a chicken often have the least amount of cholesterol followed by the thighs of the bird and the wings. The legs of the bird are considered to be that portion that often has the highest cholesterol levels.
At the same time while frying your chicken the kind of oil you are using as your cooking medium also makes a deep impact on the cholesterol level released into your body after consumption of chicken. Cooking methods like baking, roasting, and grilling are often considered healthier cooking options. A large amount of fat and cholesterol is hidden in the skin of the chicken. Hence if you are trying to curb the cholesterol intake through chicken you need to ensure that the bird is skinless at the time of cooking.(3,4)
Expert nutritionists opine that chicken is one of the best sources of lean protein. As compared to other red meat options like pork, lamb, and beef, chicken being a great source of natural protein has a much lesser saturated fat level.(3) Grilled chicken contains about 100 mg of cholesterol which is highly nutritious and healthy for your body.(3) With the right physical activity, this kind of consumption can prove to be a great source of strength and energy. However, you need to be very careful at the time of preparing your chicken. Applying too much oil, deep frying your chicken, or adding excess spice, can reduce the nutritional value, lead to digestive problems and increase the cholesterol level in your body. Hence when cooked right, chicken is considered to be one of the healthiest protein options for people suffering from high cholesterol problems.(5)
Foods That Have High Cholesterol
Careful analysis and research have revealed that red meat is one of the most pertinent sources of increasing bad cholesterol in the human body.(2) Other food items including dairy products like cheese also have high trans-fat amounts. This can lead to high cholesterol accumulation in the human body. However red meat of any type is considered to be most damaging if you are suffering from the problem of high cholesterol.
The discussion so far clearly revealed that chicken is the healthiest option of protein if one is really conscious about the kind of cholesterol spike which can occur in the body. With the right kind of cooking, and adequate physical exercise, chicken is a delicious source of energy and nutrition which can be opted for by one and all.
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