Q. Glen, How can I lower my Cholesterol Naturally?
A. Plant Sterols is one way!
Many individuals are looking for ways to safely and naturally lower blood cholesterol. People with diabetes face an even tougher challenge since the current guidelines for cholesterol levels are even more stringent for those with blood glucose issues when compared to the general population. These tighter guidelines are in place because people with diabetes have nearly the same risk of heart disease as those who have already experienced a heart attack or stroke.
You may be wondering how you can get an extra edge on your cholesterol when you already keep your intake of fat and animal protein low and avoid trans fats. Enter plant sterols. As fancy and new as they sound, these natural compounds have been known of since the 1950s.
The typical daily American diet only contains an estimated 150-350 milligrams of plant sterols. The Food and Drug Administration has stated that eating foods with 400 mg of plant sterols twice a day with meals (800 mg a day) may reduce the risk for heart disease if consumed with a diet low in cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans fat.
Even higher amounts are needed to see significant changes in blood cholesterol levels. Therefore, the addition of supplements or foods fortified with plant sterols is needed to achieve an effect. A few tips should be considered for achieving optimal cholesterol lowering when supplementing your diet with plant sterols:
Not only have plant sterols been proven safe, but they can also be utilized along with the widely used category of cholesterol-lowering medications known as "statins." In fact, using plant sterols along with statins seems to produce a synergistic effect in which greater reductions are seen than when considering each therapy by itself.
How can you incorporate plant sterols into your diet? Currently, just a handful of foods exist that add these compounds to them. If these foods are not available or preferred, the pill or chewable version of plant sterols can be purchased and easily incorporated into one’s daily routine. Here are some products that contain plant sterols, with amounts listed in parentheses:
Nature Valley® Healthy Heart Chewy Granola Bars (400 mg each); Minute Maid® Premium Heart Wise™ orange juice (1,000 mg per 8 oz); Lifetime low-fat cheese (650 mg per serving); Benecol Smart Chews (850 mg each); Metagenics UltraMeal Plus protein powder (1,000 mg per scoop); Promise™ Activ Supershots™ (2,000 mg per 3 oz serving); Benecol or Take Control spread (850-1,000 mg per tablespoon).
If you still need that extra edge to safely lower your risk for heart disease or lower your cholesterol, put plant sterols on your list of new therapies to try. You might just find bringing them into your existing diet is even easier than you imagined.
Wishing You Great Health!
Any questions? Ask Glen