17 Foods High in Plant Sterols and Stanols
Studies have shown that certain plants contain a substance called plant stanol ester, which helps lower cholesterol. High cholesterol is one of the leading risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD), as is obesity, inactivity, smoking, high blood pressure, and high triglycerides. Other risk factors include overeating fat and sugar, inactivity, stress, and alcohol consumption. By reducing one risk factor, you will benefit other areas of your health.
The compounds in plant sterols and stanols lower cholesterol levels. These compounds can lower cholesterol levels by approximately 50 percent when consumed with a low-fat diet. But in isolation, they are not effective enough in reducing cholesterol levels. A diet rich in low-fat foods is recommended. Eating various fruits, vegetables, and yogurt is also beneficial, especially the orange and red varieties.
The main benefit of yogurt is its ability to lower LDL cholesterol levels. It is also rich in plant sterols, reducing blood cholesterol by 15 percent. A single serving of yogurt contains 50 percent of the recommended daily intake of 2 grams of plant sterols. The plant sterols displace cholesterol in micelles. Hence, a large amount of yogurt may be beneficial for the heart.
Both plant sterols and stanols have anti-inflammatory effects. Studies have shown that phytosterols can reduce serum triacylglycerols. Although the effects on serum triglycerides are minimal in healthy subjects, a lower level of plasma phytosterols is linked to a decreased cardiometabolic risk. A reduction in LDL cholesterol can prevent atherosclerosis by 20 percent.
Studies show that dietary plant sterols and stanols may lower total serum cholesterol by seven to 10 percent. However, more research is needed to establish whether dietary plant sterols and stanols can lower LDL cholesterol levels. They also help improve cholesterol synthesis. Some nutritional supplements are available, such as Benecol yogurt, which contains plant sterols and stanols added to enhance their taste and nutritional value.
Plant sterols and stanol content are found in several food sources. The European Union’s Scientific Committee on Foods has determined that the dietary intake of plant sterols is safe for human consumption and recommended that the daily dose not exceed three grams daily. However, the exact effect of plant sterols is not yet known. More research is required to determine their precise impact and role in human health.
Recent studies have also linked plant sterols to a reduction in cholesterol levels. However, more studies are needed to determine whether plant sterols lower LDL cholesterol levels. Regardless of the mechanism, dietary supplements should be taken to achieve the desired results. Plant sterols and stanols may be used as a dietary supplement in children with coronary heart disease and hypercholesterolemia risk factors.
Many food sources contain plant sterols, similar to cholesterol in their chemical structure and biological function. Plant sterols are produced by an industrial process called esterification. These compounds are then easily incorporated into fat. Some of the most prominent plant sterols are sitosterol, campestanol, and stigmasterol. However, there are also saturated plant sterols and their derivatives, known as stanol esters.
Plant sterols may have many beneficial effects on human health. In one study, long-term exposure to plant sterols increases the levels of sterols in brain cells. It reduces the density of amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s disease, but the underlying mechanism is unknown. Although plant sterols are believed to be a promising biomarker in early Alzheimer’s disease, their level in the CSF is low.
If you’re wondering if Benecol products are healthy for you, the answer is yes. These plant-based oils contain a high concentration of plant sterols and stanols. Plant stanol esters have undergone extensive research and are safe for human consumption. They were among the first ingredients to receive Europe’s most substantial health claim. These compounds are found in Benecol products and have been enjoyed by millions of people around the world.
Because plant-based stanols are similar to cholesterol, they reduce cholesterol absorption from the digestive tract. Because plant sterols lower cholesterol absorption, they become a valuable strategy for reducing cardiovascular risk. Studies have shown that a healthy diet contains about two grams of plant-based sterols daily. The dietary supplement can be taken in two to three daily servings.
Research has shown that consuming plant-based foods containing stanols and sterols lowers serum LDL cholesterol levels by seven to 10 percent. These compounds inhibit cholesterol absorption from the dietary and biliary system, which is a critical factor in cardiovascular disease. Therefore, increasing the amount of plant-based foods in your diet is essential to reduce your cholesterol level.
A meta-analysis of 113 publications suggests that dietary intake of plant stanol esters can reduce serum LDL cholesterol levels by at least 11 percent. In addition, a European Food Safety Authority panel concluded that a daily intake of three grams of plant stanols reduced LDL cholesterol levels by eleven percent. And these results were consistent when compared to other plant-based stanol products.
Phytosterols and stanols are substances found in plants. They are found in small amounts in plant foods but are not enough to lower cholesterol. Therefore, food companies have developed products fortified with these substances. Consumers consume these fortified foods slowly over a few weeks, and the amount varies depending on the brand and type. Some experts claim that plant sterols and stanols may be the most effective cholesterol-lowering foods. These substances have been thoroughly studied and are safe for consumption.
The effects of plant sterols on cholesterol levels are well documented. In one meta-analysis of clinical trials, a daily intake of plant sterols and stanols decreased LDL cholesterol by 24%. These benefits are consistent with other findings. People with high LDL cholesterol levels are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. But there are ways to improve your risk of cardiovascular disease by eating more plant sterol-enriched foods.
There are two plant sterols and stanols acids: sterols and stanol esters. This industrial process turns plant sterols into sterol esters, making them more soluble in fat. Consumers should consume 1.5-three grams of plant sterols per day, divided into two servings. This amount should be part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Several studies support low-fat milk enriched with plant sterols and stanols. One of these studies showed that milk containing plant sterols and stanols significantly decreased LDL cholesterol levels in hypercholesterolemic subjects. However, the results were not consistent for HDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
A few weeks ago, I was excited to learn that a new ingredient in olive oil contains a substance called sterols. It’s a natural substance rich in health-promoting antioxidants, and you can find it in many foods. While a typical diet contains less than one to two grams of plant sterols daily, alternative feedstocks can have up to fifteen percent of the recommended daily intake. So, I decided to look up 17 foods that are high in plant sterols and stanols.
Despite its sex-neutrality, plant sterols are not recommended for children under five. The compounds may interfere with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Furthermore, children are growing, and their bodies have an increased need for cholesterol. Although there’s no direct evidence that plant sterols are harmful, infant formulas are high in plant sterols and may affect cholesterol synthesis.
If you want to enjoy the health benefits of plant sterols, ensure you include a variety of them in your daily diet. The optimal amount for your body is one gram of plant sterols daily. Some people find this too much, and they need to increase their intake to reach their goal. But if you’re not ready to give up the dietary changes that have been helping your heart for decades, it’s still worth a try.
While plant sterols have shown positive effects in many studies, the most effective is still largely unknown. One recent study in Finland has found that just 0.8 grams of plant sterols per day may reduce total cholesterol and LDL by up to 10% in mildly hypercholesterolemic individuals. It also significantly reduces the number of apo B particles, which indicates that a diet rich in plant sterols can lower blood cholesterol.