What Fish Is High in Cholesterol?


Fish can be beneficial for your heart health, which is why the American Heart Association recommends eating it at least twice a week. Although some types of fish are high in dietary cholesterol, they still tend to be a healthy protein source due to their overall nutrient content.

A fresh filet of chum salmon on a cutting board with shallots, garlic, sea salt and peppercorns.
A fresh filet of chum salmon on a cutting board with shallots, garlic, sea salt and peppercorns. (Image: NSritawat/iStock/Getty Images)

Cholesterol in Your Catch

The daily value, or recommended limit, for cholesterol is 300 milligrams. Some types of fish that are higher in cholesterol include salted cod, with 43 percent of the daily value for cholesterol, and sardines canned in oil, with 39 percent of the DV for cholesterol in each 3-ounce serving. Sea trout, herring, dolphinfish, chum salmon, pollock and rainbow smelt all have between 25 percent and 30 percent of the DV for cholesterol per serving, making them relatively high in cholesterol as well.

Potential Effect on Blood Cholesterol

Dietary cholesterol has less of an effect on your blood cholesterol than saturated fat, so trading a meat that is higher in saturated fat for a fish serving, which is usually lower in this type of fat, may improve your overall cholesterol levels. A study published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in May 2009 found that a diet containing about 4 ounces of fish per week helped lower triglycerides and increase high-density lipoprotein, or "good" cholesterol, compared to a diet with a similar fat and saturated fat content that didn't contain any fish or nuts. Fish isn't a treatment for high cholesterol, however. You'll still need to speak with your doctor and follow the prescribed treatment for this condition.

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