Shellfish and other seafood have been previously classified as high cholesterol foods. However, according to Yale New Haven Hospital, those claims don't entirely stand up. Much of the excess cholesterol from seafood comes from polyunsaturated fats, which are actually beneficial to heart health. Knowing how much cholesterol is in seafood can help you incorporate it into your diet without going over the recommended 200 to 300 milligrams per day.
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Shrimp are relatively high in cholesterol. The average serving containing 15 large shrimp has 155 milligrams of cholesterol. If your shrimp are breaded and fried, this will increase that amount, as will cooking them in butter. Yale New Haven Hospital recommends flavoring your shrimp with a cholesterol and fat free butter substitute rather than frying or cooking in real butter. Eat shrimp raw, grilled, broiled or steamed to avoid adding additional oils.
Musssels & Scallops
A serving of four to five steamed mussels has about 48 milligrams of cholesterol. Three to four broiled scallops have about 34 milligrams. According to Fort Valley State University, the amount of cholesterol in most types of shellfish is roughly equivalent to the amount in many cuts of beef. Portion control is more of a concern than the actual cholesterol in the dish. If you're only eating one serving of mussels, you'll be well under the recommended 300 milligrams, and if you eat low cholesterol foods the rest of the day, this treat can occasionally fit into a low cholesterol diet.
If you eat 3 ounces of lobster meat, you will take in 61 milligrams of cholesterol. Like shrimp, the way you cook and serve can add additional cholesterol. If you know you will be eating your lobster with real butter, you'll need to adjust your cholesterol totals accordingly. Lobster added to stews, fondue, gumbo and other dishes also have the added cholesterol of whatever other ingredients the recipe contains.
If you're a fan of crab, you'll find that king crab legs have 71 milligrams of cholesterol each. A 3 ounce serving of baked crab has 80 milligrams. Crab is traditionally served with butter, and according to the Cleveland Clinic, butter has 22 milligrams of cholesterol in a single tablespoon, so adjust cholesterol levels accordingly. It's also common to eat more than one crab leg per serving, making this an easy dish to overindulge on.
Oysters and Clams
You'll get 58 milligrams of cholesterol in six medium oysters. There are 57 milligrams of cholesterol in a serving of 19 small clams. In terms of cholesterol management, these shellfish are a good choice, because although they are slightly high in cholesterol, you get a larger serving without getting as much cholesterol as you would in other comparable sized servings of of seafood on this list.