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Plant Sterol enriched margarine spreads can help reduce blood cholesterol

Posted Jun 01 2008 2:02am 1 Comment

\ We?ve all seen margarine spreads in the supermarkets that boast about being ?cholesterol reducing? etc. Have you every wondered if they really work?

Well?This is some information that I found on an information handout from the Heart Foundation?

What is a plant sterol?

Plant sterols are naturally occurring components mainly found in vegetable oils but are also present in smaller amounts in nuts, legumes, breads and cereals. Traces are also found in fruit and veges.

What effect do plant sterols have on blood cholesterol levels?

Plant sterols can lower blood cholesterol levels by around 10%, depending on how much is consumed. A reduced blood cholesterol level is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.

How much plant sterol is needed to lower blood cholesterol levels?

A daily intake of about 2 to 3g of plant sterols is needed to have an effect on blood cholesterol levels. To achieve this level of intake, foods, such as margarine spreads, need to be enriched with plant sterols, consuming about 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of plant sterol enriched margarine spread each day.

Are there any side effects of plant sterol margarines?

In general, there doesn?t appear to be any evidence of safety concerns associated with the short-term consumption of plant sterols, although long-term safety studies haven?t been performed.

Plant sterols have been shown to lower the levels of carotenoids in the blood. People with lower levels of carotenoids may have a greater risk of coronary heart disease than people with higher levels of carotenoids. To counter balance any decrease in carotenoids people can include an additional daily serve of yellow or orange vegetables of fruit?e.g carrots.

People with a rare inherited metabolic disease called homozygous sitosterolaemia (1 in 6 million people affected) should restrict their consumption of plant sterols. These people have high levels of sterols in their blood because they have a high rate of gut absorption of plant sterols, which leads to premature atherosclerosis.

Can I eat too much plant sterol enriched margarine spread?

Plant sterol enriched margarine spreads can be included in moderate amounts as part of healthy eating. The recommended intake is 1 to 1.5 tablespoons per day.

It is important to understand though, that no single food can prevent against having a heart attack. Ultimately it comes back to maintaining an all over healthy lifestyle for good health it is still important to eat a variety of foods such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, fruit, vegetables, legumes, lean meats, poultry, fish and reduced dairy products.

Comments (1)
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That's awesome.  I wish that someone would have thought of doing something like that a LONG time ago.  The next step is to also change your diet to include more plants in general.  Another great way to get plant sterols is to take plant sterols as a supplement.  This a great way to consistently get plant sterols without having to have margerine three times a day which could get old.
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