Plant Sterols Work to Lower Cholesterol

by Jodee on March 5, 2010

If you are looking for ways to lower your cholesterol levels, a compound found in fruits, vegetables, and nuts can help. Plant sterols help to lower the level of cholesterol that is absorbed by the lower digestive tract from the food we eat.

The recommended daily amount for plant sterol consumption is two grams per day. You can get them by eating more fruits and vegetables, but you would have to eat a large amount of them to do so. A better choice is to choose foods that have plant sterols added to them.

Look for this ingredient added to foods like milk products, orange juice, crackers and margarine. Since they don’t change the flavor or texture of the foods they are added to, you can reap the health benefits without being concerned about giving up taste.

People who consume the recommended daily amount of plant sterols in their diet can lower their LDL cholesterol by up to 10 percent.plant sterols photo

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) helps to keep us healthy by moving cholesterol away from the cells and transporting it to the liver so that it can be broken down and eliminated from the body. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is a health issue because it cannot be broken down in water. Instead, it travels through the bloodstream and is taken to the arteries leading to the heart.

How Plant Sterols Help Lower Cholesterol

On a molecular level, plant sterols are very similar to LDL cholesterol. When a person consumes foods containing plant sterols, these molecules compete with the cholesterols ones for absorption by the lower intestine. As a result, a lower amount of cholesterol is absorbed by the body.

Cholesterol Levels Not Related to Appearance

You may be thinking that you can spot a person who needs to take steps to lower their cholesterol, but that is not the case. Genetics plays a part in cholesterol levels, so an individual can avoid the gym like the plague and eat a high amount of fat in his or her diet and may have a lower cholesterol level than a person who eats well and exercises regularly. The way to find out what your cholesterol level is and whether you need to be making changes to your diet, such as eating more foods containing plant sterols, is to see your doctor and have your levels checked.

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