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Lower Cholesterol Naturally: Add fortified foods to your grocery list

Armen Hareyan's picture
Stanols and plant sterols lower cholesterol

There is a new way in town that can block disease-building plaque from your arteries and can lower your cholesterol naturally. The plant stanols and plant sterols, both known as phytosterols. Actually, these substances have been around for a long time and are found naturally in fruit, vegetables, nuts and oils.

Lowever your cholesterol naturally

These natural plant substances when added in amounts of 2 to 3 grams can drop your LDL or “bad” cholesterol between 10 to 15 percent. High levels of LDL cholesterol contributes to fatty build up on artery walls which form plaque deposits narrowing the artery wall and diminishing blood flow.

The typical American diet gets between 160 to 500 mg of phytosterols; nowhere near the 2 to 3 gram amount needed to drop the lethal cholesterol. The food industry has made it easier for consumers by fortifying foods with these natural plant compounds.

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Phytosterols can work in tandem with cholesterol-lowering medications and a heart-healthy lifestyle. By blocking cholesterol from the small intestine, less harmful cholesterol is available in the blood steam, thereby improving heart health.

If foods weren’t fortified with these cholesterol-blocking plant compounds, you’d have to eat 22 servings of Brussel sprouts, 56 servings of wax beans, 24 servings of broccoli or cauliflower, 26 oranges, 70 large carrots.
Add these phytosterol-fortified products to your shopping list

Food Serving Amt of Plant Stanol/Sterol

Nature Valley Healthy Heart™ Granola Bar 1 bar 0.4 grams
Minute Maid Heart Wise™ Orange juice 8 oz 1 gram
Cocoa Via™ Chocolate Snack Bar 1 bar 1.1 grams
Kroger Active Lifestyle™ skim milk 8 oz 0.4 grams
Dark Chocolate Pomegranate VitaTop™ 1 top 0.4 grams
Lifetime® Low Fat cheese with Phytosterol Esters 2 oz 1.3 grams
Oroweat™ Whole Grain & Oat bread 3 slices 0.8 grams
Rice Dream Heart Wise Rice™ drink Original and Vanilla 8 oz 1.3 grams
Benecol™ Margarine Spread 1 TB 0.85 grams
Take Control™ Margarine Spread 1 TB 1.7 grams

By Mary Lou Perry, R.D., MS, CDE
UVA Heart and Vascular Center Dietitian