Study suggests ‘widely available’ plant stanol foods can lower cholesterol levels by 35%
High cholesterol levels are often the result of poor dietary decisions. Unfortunately, the fatty substance can increase the risk of serious health problems ranging from heart disease to stroke. However, some foods can serve as an antidote to this danger. In addition, studies show that the plant stanols and sterols hidden in some creamy foods do a pretty good job.
A cholesterol-lowering diet usually focuses on cutting down on creamy and fatty foods such as butter and cheese.
These unruly saturated fats are usually replaced with their unsaturated counterparts such as olive oil, soy products, nuts, and more.
However, there are still some creamy foods that you can enjoy as long as they are fortified with plant stanols and sterols. What’s more, according to Heart UK, they are considered “the most effective cholesterol-lowering product.”
Plant sterols and stanols are chemicals similar in shape and size to cholesterol, found naturally in plants.
READ MORE: A 33-year-old man sees his cholesterol drop by 52.8% in “weeks” after making simple dietary adjustments.
When these foods enter your body, they compete with dietary cholesterol for intestinal absorption.
As a result of this competition, less cholesterol enters the bloodstream.
Heart UK explains: “We get small amounts of sterols from plant foods such as vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, but not enough to lower cholesterol.
“So, food companies have developed products with added plant sterols or stanols, such as mini yogurt drinks, fat spreads, milk and yogurts.”
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In the UK, companies such as Benecol and Flora fortify their products with these plant chemicals.
What’s more, studies show that eating these creamy foods can lower your cholesterol levels by a whopping 35 percent.
A review article published in the journal Nutrients collected and analyzed existing data from 55 studies to determine how to reduce the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) through diet.
Since “bad” cholesterol lays the foundation for ASCVD, reducing fat may therefore reduce risk.
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The research team focused on the intake of dietary fats, cholesterol, and plant stanol esters.
Their results showed that eating just two to three grams of these plant-based treats reduced cholesterol absorption by 44 percent.
What’s more, combining plant stanol esters with a heart-healthy diet was able to reduce “bad” cholesterol levels by 35 percent.
Holly Roper, Science Communications and Nutrition Manager at Raisio Nutrition Ltd, said: “The amount of information in this article and the implications of this new model that appears to quantify that daily intake of plant stanol ester can do more than just lower bad cholesterol. , but may also help reduce the risk of CVD, is potentially of great importance.
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“This is because more people worldwide die from cardiovascular disease (CVD) than from any other cause, and two-thirds of these deaths are caused specifically by atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), such as coronary heart disease ( ischemic stroke, and peripheral arterial disease.
“Foods containing added plant stanol ester are now widely available.
“They can easily be included in the diet of the population to improve everyone’s heart health by reducing [“bad” cholesterol concentrations]”.
Heart UK recommends eating one to three servings of fortified foods a day to get 1.5 to 3 grams of stanols and sterols. “Within three weeks, this can lower cholesterol levels by up to 10 percent,” the charity added.
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