Vegetable Sources of Cholesterol

While you generally hear that cholesterol is found in meats, dairy and fried goods, there's still some question if vegetables contain this dietary substance. Luckily, the answer is quite simple. Vegetables (as well as fruits, nuts and whole grains) do not contain cholesterol. For a food item to have dietary cholesterol, it would need to come from an animal or contain a product from an animal. However, it's quite possible that a vegetable could contain fat, such as polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat, both of which can affect your cholesterol levels.

Foods rich in antioxidants. (Image: robynmac/iStock/Getty Images)


When it comes to polyunsaturated fat, there are a number of vegetables that contain relatively high levels of this dietary substance. Soy beans appear to have the most polyunsaturated fat, coming in at right around 6g, but you can also find this healthier fat in alfalfa, arugula, asparagus, banana peppers, cauliflower, chives, jalapeno peppers, kidney beans, pinto beans, radishes, spinach and zucchini squash. Most of these vegetable products contain fewer than 2g of polyunsaturated fat. With monounsaturated fat, you'll find larger quantities in olives and avocados.


Another common vegetable source of fat, namely monounsaturated fat, is oil. Some oils derived from vegetables (and other plant life) contain a sizable amount of this healthier fat. Sunflower oil is one of the leading sources of monounsaturated fat, coming in at 19g, but you may also find it in safflower oil, olive oil, canola oil, avocado oil and corn oil.


Though these two fats are considered healthier than either saturated fat or trans fat, you still need to pay attention to your consumption. According to the American Heart Association, they should only make up 25 to 35 percent of your daily caloric intake. Higher amounts could eventually affect your cholesterol levels, causing them to rise and increasing your risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries), heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

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