10 Foods High in Plant Sterols
Plants can contain cholesterol as well, known as phytosterol. Surprisingly enough, the plant version of cholesterol lowers the cholesterol levels in your body, therefore decreasing your risk of heart disease.
10 Foods High in Plant Sterols
Plants contain cholesterol too - and the plant version of cholesterol is called a phytosterol, or plant sterol.
For an out-of-the-ordinary way to reduce your cholesterol levels in your body - just add foods with plant sterols to your daily diet. When you lower your cholesterol, it helps reduce the risk of heart disease.
Plant sterols (and plant stanols) are phytochemicals that are found naturally in wide variety of foods, such as grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds. But why do plant sterols matter?
What Do Plant Sterols Do?
Essentially, these plant sterol molecules look very similar to cholesterol found in animal foods. When they are present in your digestive tract, they block the absorption of cholesterol from your meal. Instead of cholesterol getting into your arteries and causing damage to your blood vessels, instead cholesterol will just leave your body as waste.
The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends that 2 grams of plant stanols or sterols each day for people who have high cholesterol.
As it turns out, just 3 servings of foods with plant sterols and stanols can reduce your cholesterol by as much as 20 points.
In general, vegetables contain higher amounts of plant sterols than fruits, though the amount in vegetables can vary greatly.
10 Foods with Plant Sterols*
*All of the values are based on averages found in the USDA's National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 27.
Other foods with plant sterols include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, dill, apples, avocados, as well as blueberries.
Certain foods have been fortified with plant sterols, such as orange juice, margarine, energy bars, and some yogurt drinks, like Promise brand active super shots. All of these foods provide a very high amount of plant sterols and stanols, with just a few servings of these meeting daily recommendations of 2g of plant sterols per day quite easy to achieve.
Some of the foods richest in plant sterols include wheat germ, oat bran, and brown rice. You can also find sterols in peanuts, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.
Even aloa vera contains plant sterols, and can be absorbed if applied directly to the skin. Interestingly, these sterols can even reach the bloodstream, and change the way your body uses glucose and fat.
There is still so much to learn about foods with plant sterols and stanols, but so far we know that consuming these are much better for your health than consuming lots of cholesterol-rich foods when it comes to preventing heart disease.
So sit back, and sprinkle some sesame seeds on your next stir-fry meal, or have ½ cup of pistachios as your next snack to help keep your cholesterol levels in check.
*National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 27, Software v.2.2.3 The National Agricultural Library