- The National Institutes of Health suggests consuming 2 grams of plant sterols (2,000 mg) daily.
- The American Heart Association recommends plant sterols for adults with high cholesterol levels (total and LDL).
- The AHA also recommends plant sterols for those with cardiovascular disease.
So… which foods with Plant Sterols should you be eating? Corazonas Tortilla Chips and Oatmeal Squares? Well, of course! But what else?
We present below a collection of our favorite foods with plant sterols. Yes, Corazonas Snacks are on the list… can you blame us… we’re addicted to them!
BRANDS WITH PLANT STEROLS
1. Corazonas™ Chips and Oatmeal Squares
2. Minute Made® Premium Heartwise™
4. Heart Goodness® Egg Product
5. Smart Balance® HeartRight® milk
6. Cardio Juice™
7. Giant Eagle® Fat Free Milk
9. Cardio Chews™
ABOUT PLANT STEROLS
Companies like Corazonas, and the ones mentioned above, only recently began selling foods infused with plant sterols.
So what are plant sterols?
Plant sterols, or as they are also called, phytosterols, occur naturally in fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole-grain products and most vegetable oils. The issue with foods that contain sterols naturally is that the foods normally contain levels that are just too low to be able to positively effect the level of bad/LDL cholesterol in our bodies.
But since the advent of plant sterol-infused foods, people have been able to eat normal quantities of sterol foods and still help to lower blood cholesterol as they reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
Plant sterols are thought of as “a plant’s cholesterol”. Similar to how we have cholesterol, so do plants! In fact, looking at them under a microscope reveals substantial similarities between “plant cholesterol” and human cholesterol. It is this almost identical structure that allows plant sterols to battle with cholesterol to access receptors in our small intestines known as micelles. Micelles help transport cholesterol through the intestine into your blood stream.
Now here’s the important thing to remember… and why we exist… Over 140 clinical studies have shown us that plant sterols can help lower bad/LDL cholesterol levels by up to 14%!
GETTING DEEP ABOUT PLANT STEROLS
The most well-known plant sterol is sitosterol. 50 to 60 years ago, sitosterol was studied by a large group of professionals who found that the sterol seemed to lower cholesterol by around 10 percent. In the 80’s, sitostanol was found to reduce the amounts of cholesterol (and blood cholesterol) that was absorbed by the body.
A fairly recent study indicated that when sitostanol is coupled with margarine plasma cholesterol in the body was decreased by 10.2 percent on average. This particular study looked at a group of people who had mild hypercholesteremia. The sitostanol was not absorbed. Additionally, it didn’t seem to interfere with absorption of vitamins that were fat-soluble.
As noted above, when plant sterols occur naturally in foods, they don’t often provide enough of a benefit to us without eating really big amount. But it is still important to understand which foods naturally contain sterols. Relatively good sources of sterols are:
- Rice bran
- Wheat germ
- Oat bran
- Whole wheat
- Brown rice
- Dried peas
- Dried beans
- Nuts and Seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
Fruits and Vegetables only contain trace amounts of plant sterols. And even though you’d have to eat pounds and pounds of them to see any benefit; here are the ones relatively rich in sterols:
- Brussels sprouts
- Vegetable oils
- Wheat germ oil
Most of the foods listed above are D-licious, no doubt. But hey, why eat all those pounds and pounds of foods? If you’re going to try to lower your cholesterol naturally, eat something that makes you smile…