Cholesterol: Why You Should Swear By Plant Sterols In Nuts, Seeds And Grains For Cholesterol Regulation
Cholesterol: According to a New England Journal of Medicine study, patients who consume 2 gm of plant sterols every day for a year had lesser LDL or bad cholesterol by 14%, and total cholesterol by 10%. These plant sterols can be found in nuts, seeds, legumes, oat bran, rice bran and brown rice.
Plant sterols or phytosterols are naturally occurring substances in foods like nuts and seeds
- Plant sterols are considered to be safe for reducing LDL cholesterol
- You should have at least 2 gm of cholesterol every day
- Legumes are considered to be a rich source of plant sterols
Cholesterol is essentially a type of fat which is found in your blood. Liver is responsible for making cholesterol in the body. Cholesterol is necessary but too much of it can increase risk of heart diseases. Your cholesterol levels go beyond normal levels because of an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. At times, high cholesterol can be inherited. It is important to maintain normal levels of cholesterol in order to prevent heart disease. Consuming lots of junk food, deep fried and processed food can increase risk of high cholesterol. Statin medications are usually one of the first treatments recommended by doctors for high cholesterol.
Statins are essentially medicines which block the action of a chemical in the liver which makes cholesterol. Statins can help in reducing bad cholesterol and are highly effective for most people. But, they have been linked to muscle pain, digestive problems and even liver damage in some rare cases.
Plant sterols for cholesterol regulation
Plant sterols or phytosterols are naturally occurring substances that are found in foods like nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and vegetable oils. Thee have a chemical structure which is similar to dietary cholesterol and can prevent absorption of cholesterol in intestines.
Also read: 5 Ways To Boost Good Cholesterol Naturally
According to a study published in New England Journal of Medicine, patients who consume 2 gm of plant sterols every day for a year had lesser LDL or bad cholesterol by 14%, and total cholesterol by 10%.
Other studies have consistently found plant sterols to be safe and effective in reducing LDL or bad cholesterol.
How to include plant sterols in diet
According to the National Cholesterol Education Program, it is important to have 2 gm of plant sterols every day. Following are some foods that can provide you with good amount of plant sterols:
1. Legumes are considered to be a rich source of plant sterols. Dried beans, dried peas and lentils like moong, arhar and kulith can provide you with plant sterols for cholesterol control.
2. Nuts and seeds are a rich source of plant sterols. Include walnuts, almonds, pecans, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds in your diet.
3. Wheat germ, oat bran, rice bran and brown rice are grains that can provide you with plant sterols.
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