Octopus, Cuttlefish, Squid and High Cholesterol

by Sara Ipatenco, Demand Media
    Mollusks supply potassium and niacin.

    Mollusks supply potassium and niacin.

    Octopus, squid and cuttlefish are all members of the mollusk family of seafood. A serving of any of these mollusks is low in fat and calories and supplies a good dose of iron, zinc, vitamin B-12 and vitamin A, but it also contains cholesterol. If you have high cholesterol, your doctor has probably advised you to limit your intake of cholesterol, usually to 200 milligrams or less per day. Knowing the cholesterol content of your favorite seafood will help you create a meal plan that protects your health.

    High Cholesterol

    Cholesterol is a type of fat that enables your body to work properly, but too much can harm your health. A cholesterol reading of 200 milligrams per deciliter or higher is considered high cholesterol. When your cholesterol reading reaches this number, you're at an increased risk for heart disease. In fact, as cholesterol sticks to the walls of your arteries, less oxygen is able to reach your heart, which raises your chances of having a heart attack, too. As cholesterol sticks to your arteries, it also prevents enough oxygen from reaching your brain, which can lead to a stroke.

    Octopus, Squid and Cuttlefish Cholesterol Contents

    A 3-ounce serving of octopus contains 82 milligrams of cholesterol, and the same amount of cuttlefish has 190 milligrams. A 3-ounce portion of squid contains the most cholesterol with 198 milligrams. That's your entire 200-milligram limit if you're following a low-cholesterol diet. It's 66 percent of the 300 milligrams of cholesterol you should limit yourself to each day if you don't have high cholesterol.

    Tips

    Limiting your intake of cholesterol is one way to help protect your health and work toward reducing your overall blood cholesterol level. While you don't have to completely give up mollusks, you do need to limit them to an occasional meal rather than an everyday addition to your diet. In fact, because seafood is generally low in saturated fats, it can be an occasional part of a heart-healthy diet despite its cholesterol content, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. When you do have a serving of octopus, squid or cuttlefish, reduce the cholesterol you consume at other meals during the day to compensate for the high cholesterol content.

    Considerations

    In addition to restricting your intake of octopus, cuttlefish and squid, there are other dietary changes that can help you reduce your cholesterol level. Add fruits, vegetables and whole grains to your diet. They contain a good dose of fiber, which helps reduce cholesterol. Eat heart-healthy seafood such as salmon, mackerel and herring, too. They contain omega-3 fatty acids, which boost your heart health. Make exercise a regular part of your day and stop smoking as additional ways to lower your high cholesterol levels.

    About the Author

    Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.

    Photo Credits

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