Plant sterols and stanols are actually cousins of cholesterol, but serve to lower the amount in your bloodstream. By eating foods that are rich in plant sterols, you can lower your cholesterol over time if you combine it with proper exercise and a healthy diet.
The consumption of plant sterols are mostly for those with moderately high amounts of cholesterol in their systems as this is a safe, natural way to lower the levels in your body. For those who have high amounts of cholesterol, other treatments may be needed in order to bring them under control.
Plant Sterol Foods
There are a number of different foods that contain plant sterols that you can incorporate into your diet. Generally speaking, you should eat a mixture of these foods for maximum impact and combine them with a diet that is rich is soluble fiber, low in sugar and fats which can contribute to having less cholesterol in your bloodstream.
Today, many foods are now fortified by sterols and stanols which mean that even if they do not possess them naturally, they are still fortified with them so that you can benefit from the results. Such fortified food products include the following:
- Orange Juice
- Granola Bars
- Rice Milk
- Low-Fat Cheese
- Cooking Oil and More
Remember to look for the labels that should highlight their sterol and stanol count so that you can benefit from consuming such foods. However, it is important to remember that many of these foods also contain other substances as well which can actually contribute to your weight, such as chocolate so be sure to consume them in moderate amounts.
How to Plant Sterols Work?
Basically, when you consume plant sterols, they will actually “gum up” the works in your body that would otherwise absorb cholesterol from foods. However, there are two different types of cholesterol, the LDL which is the “bad” form in the bloodstream and the HDL which is the “good” form. The sterols will actually help clear away the LDL while leaving the HDL for proper liver function.
Consuming just two grams of sterols or stanols each day can lower the LDL cholesterol in your body by roughly 10% in total. While that may not sound all that impressive, just lowering the LDL by 10% may reduce the chances of a heart attack by up to 20%.
The effect of sterols and stanols on the body that provide no noticeable side effects when taken in the proper amounts has led the FDA to green light a number of foods to have this natural product to fortify. This means that a great number of foods will be augmented by plant sterols and stanols which will help lower the LDL cholesterol in the body when combined with a healthy diet and exercise program.
For those who have high cholesterol counts in their body, consuming more plant sterols and stanols can significantly lower the amount in the bloodstream which can in turn create a lower chance of heart attack.