Foods With Added Sterols And Stanols
Sterols and stanols are plant chemicals which are a similar size and shape to cholesterol. They are absorbed from the intestines into the blood stream and block some cholesterol from being absorbed, lowering the cholesterol in your blood.
We get a small amount of sterols from plant-based foods such as vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, but its not enough to lower cholesterol. So, food companies have developed foods with plant sterols or stanols added to them, such as mini yogurt drinks, fat spreads, milk and yogurts.
These fortified foods lower your cholesterol gradually, over a few weeks, and how much depends on the amount you eat. Some experts believe they are the most effective single food for lowering cholesterol.
Who should eat foods with sterols and stanols added?
Sterols and stanols have been thoroughly researched, so they can be added to foods and are safe to eat.
They are suitable for:
- People with high cholesterol theres no real benefit if you dont have high cholesterol.
- Children with inherited high cholesterol such as familial hypercholesterolaemia with support from a doctor or dietitian.
- People taking statins sterols and stanols will help to lower your cholesterol further because they work in a different way to the statin.
They are not suitable for:
Aim for: one to three servings of fortified foods a day. This will give you 1.5 to 3g of stanols and sterols.
Three servings of: OR
- 1 glass of milk
One product a day:
What Causes High Cholesterol
Some causes of high blood cholesterol include:
- Low intake of foods containing healthy fats healthy fats tend to increase the good cholesterol.
- High intake of foods containing unhealthy fats such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, butter, coconut oil, palm oil and most deep-fried takeaway foods and commercially baked products . Foods high in trans-fats include most commercially baked products and deep-fried takeaway foods.
- Low intake of foods containing fibre foods that are high in dietary fibre, particularly soluble fibre, can reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood. Include fibre-containing foods in your diet by choosing vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, nuts and seeds every day.
- Cholesterol in food this has only a small effect on LDL cholesterol -saturated fats and trans-fats in food have a much greater effect.
- You can also eat up to 7 eggs a week as part of a healthy, balanced diet low in saturated and trans-fats, without increasing your risk of heart disease.
Some people will have high cholesterol even if they follow a healthy, balanced diet low in saturated fats and trans-fats. These people may need to take cholesterol-lowering medicine as prescribed by their doctor.
Swap Processed Meat For Fish
Salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna and other fatty fish are some of the best foods to lower LDL and reduce heart disease risk. According to a 2016 review featured in , fish may help prevent cardiovascular problems thanks to its high content of bioactive compounds and polyunsaturated fatty acids , such as omega-3s. Research suggests that the fats in fish have little or no effect on total cholesterol but affect HDL and LDL cholesterol.
The study also points out that PUFAs may lower blood pressure, improve endothelial function and reduce inflammation, leading to better cardiovascular health. Processed and red meats, on the other hand, have been shown to increase the risk of death from all causes. Researchers believe that these side effects may be due to the nitrites and nitrates in red meat as well as to the toxic compounds released during cooking.
As the American Heart Association notes, red meat is higher in saturated fat than fish, chicken and vegetables. Processed meat contains trans fats that raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol levels. That’s why health experts recommend limiting red meat consumption and eating more fish and white meat.
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Lower Your Cholesterol Levels Naturally
As you can see, there are plenty of foods that lower cholesterol fast. Your diet may also include nuts, seeds, leafy greens, soy, garlic and high-fiber fruits like berries and apples. Extra dark chocolate is a healthy choice too.
Garlic, for example, may reduce total and LDL cholesterol as well as blood pressure when combined with lemon juice, according to a 2016 clinical trial published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine. Subjects saw major improvements in their blood lipids in just eight weeks.
Remember to cut back on processed foods as well. Sausage, salami, pizza, pastries and junk food are all loaded with trans fats and sugars. They not only clog your arteries and raise cholesterol levels but also affect your waistline. In the long run, they may increase your risk of chronic illnesses and accelerate aging.
Add These Foods To Lower Ldl Cholesterol
Different foods lower cholesterol in various ways. Some deliver soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation. Some give you polyunsaturated fats, which directly lower LDL. And some contain plant sterols and stanols, which block the body from absorbing cholesterol.
1. Oats. An easy first step to lowering your cholesterol is having a bowl of oatmeal or cold oat-based cereal like Cheerios for breakfast. It gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Add a banana or some strawberries for another half-gram. Current nutrition guidelines recommend getting 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day, with at least 5 to 10 grams coming from soluble fiber.
2. Barley and other whole grains. Like oats and oat bran, barley and other whole grains can help lower the risk of heart disease, mainly via the soluble fiber they deliver.
3. Beans. Beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. They also take a while for the body to digest, meaning you feel full for longer after a meal. That’s one reason beans are a useful food for folks trying to lose weight. With so many choices from navy and kidney beans to lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, and beyond and so many ways to prepare them, beans are a very versatile food.
4. Eggplant and okra. These two low-calorie vegetables are good sources of soluble fiber.
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Dark Chocolate And Cocoa
Cocoa is the main ingredient in dark chocolate.
It may seem too good to be true, but research verifies the claims that dark chocolate and cocoa can lower bad LDL cholesterol .
In one study, healthy adults drank a cocoa beverage twice a day for a month.
They experienced a reduction in bad LDL cholesterol of 0.17 mmol/l . Their blood pressure also decreased and their good HDL cholesterol increased .
Cocoa and dark chocolate also seem to protect the bad LDL cholesterol in your blood from oxidation, which is a key cause of heart disease .
However, chocolate is often high in added sugar which negatively affects heart health.
Therefore, you should use cocoa alone or choose dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 7585% or higher.
The effect seems strongest in people with high cholesterol.
SummaryThere is some evidence that soy foods can reduce heart disease risk factors, especially in people with high cholesterol.
Maintaining Healthy Cholesterol Levels During The Holidays
This post was written in partnership with Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. and Take Cholesterol to Heart. All opinions and experiences written are my own.
The holiday season is full of get-togethers and celebrations that can make maintaining healthy cholesterol levels challenging.
To make sure my party guests have heart-healthy options, one of my favorite things to serve atgatherings is a hummus platter with lots of veggies, fruits, and whole-grain crackers. I whip upmy homemade hummus recipe in a matter of minutes and my guests love it!
Learning and caring about cholesterol and heart health is close to my own heart because mygrandmother had her first heart attack at a young age of 51. She was diagnosed with highcholesterol in her early 30s and heart disease is in my familys medical history. My husbandsmom also has high cholesterol so naturally, I worry about our health.
High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death inthe United States. It can be deceiving because you cant see or feel it like some otherconditions, but it can have serious consequences.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle to help keep cholesterol at healthy levels year-round and duringthe holidays is easier when you:
- Incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine
- Choose heart-healthy foods at holiday gatherings
- Reduce stress
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Foods To Help Lower Cholesterol
You can increase your HDLs through exercise, but when it comes to your diet, there are several foods that can help with LDL reduction The key here is to reduce, replace and improvise.
Soluble fiber is a gummy fiber that binds to bile and removes it with your bodys waste. For every 1 gram of soluble fiber you eat, you can lower your LDL by 1%. Replacing foods high in saturated fat with mono- and polyunsaturated fats can also help reduce LDL in your body. Its important to find small ways of building these foods into your diet, like swapping out cheese on a salad with avocado slices or replacing a creamy dressing with olive oil and vinegar.
Red Grapefruit: As Much As A 20 Percent Difference
Eating just one red grapefruit daily for a month can help to lower LDL cholesterol by as much as 20 percent, one study in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry in March 2006 showed. This cardioprotective effect is most likely due to compounds called liminoids and lycopene found in the pulp. Grapefruit also contains the soluble fiber pectin, which contributes to LDL lowering.
But be aware that grapefruit can enhance the effect of certain heart medications, such as statins and calcium channel blockers. If you’re on one of these drugs, check with your doctor before eating grapefruit or drinking the juice.
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Olive Oil And Avocados
Extra virgin olive oil is low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which is supportive of heart health and can increase your HDL. Avocados have similar properties. Extra virgin olive oil and avocados should be used as staple fat in a heart-healthy diet to replace saturated fats like butter, margarine and white condiments like mayonnaise, sour cream and cream cheese, says Zumpano. When you start to utilize plant-based fats to replace animal fats, that will help lower your cholesterol and improve your overall heart health.
What To Look Out For When Shopping For Foods To Lower Cholesterol:
When grocery shopping, there are foods you’ll want to focus on and foods to avoid to lower your cholesterol. To lower your cholesterol, focus on foods high in fiber like canned or dried beans or lentils, fruits and vegetables , as well as whole grains like quinoa, oatmeal, brown rice and whole-wheat bread. Other healthy options to focus on include those foods high in unsaturated fats like nuts and seedsincluding chia and flax, as well as olive oil, avocado and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon. These healthy fats help raise your good HDL cholesterol which protects your heart. Some other foods you can eat that may surprise youeggs and shrimp. Although traditionally avoided because they’re high in dietary cholesterol, there’s not a lot of evidence that cholesterol in foods actually raises our body’s cholesterol, so feel free to include these foods in your healthy diet plan.
To identify trans fats, look at the ingredient list and try to avoid foods that say “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated fats.” You’ll often find them in processed foods, especially processed baked goods, as well as some peanut butters, so try to opt for a natural peanut butter that contains just two ingredients: peanuts and salt.
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List Of Foods To Avoid To Lower Cholesterol
While certain foods can help to lower cholesterol levels, some are best avoided in order to keep your cholesterol levels in check. Heres the list of some of the foods to avoid to keep your cholesterol level under control.
How The Fat You Eat Affects Cholesterol Levels
The relationship between the fat we eat and our health, particularly our cardiovascular health, has been hotly debated for many years.
Heres what you need to know:
Not all fats are created equally.
The kinds of fat you eat matter more than the amount.
There are different types of fats in our diet:
Polyunsaturated fats: essential and important nutrients
Monounsaturated fats: can come from plant or animal products and are generally considered healthy
Saturated fats: less healthy than mono- and polyunsaturated fats
Trans fats: unhealthy fats
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How Does Cholesterol Work
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that can clog arteries if theres too much of it in the body. Your body makes cholesterol naturally, but when you eat too many foods that also contain cholesterol, these can combine to create an excess of cholesterol in your body. And thats when things can turn bad.
There are two main types of cholesterol: HDL, or high-density lipoprotein, and LDL, or low-density lipoprotein. HDL is known as good cholesterol, since it works to remove LDL , from your arteries. So, foods that are said to help maintain healthy cholesterol can either increase HDL, lower LDL, or both.
Which Foods Are The Best To Lower Cholesterol
Theres a long list of foods you can eat in order to help your cholesterol levels. While no single food may be responsible for dramatic decreases, incorporating several heart-healthy foods can definitely get your levels to more acceptable levels. Elena Paravantes, a registered dietitian nutritionist and author of the book The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Beginners says, foods that are rich in soluble fiber are very beneficial for cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and turns into a gel-like substance. Other good choices are monounsaturated fats and foods that contain natural plant sterols such as nuts and seeds.
Below, weve included a list of the best foods that lower cholesterol.
Read Also: Is Chocolate Bad For Cholesterol
Eggs: Keep It To One A Day And Youll Be Okay
Although a large egg contains about 187 mg of cholesterol, eating less than 250 mg of eggs each day doesnt appear to be significantly associated with cardiovascular death in American adults. However, eating more than 250 mg of eggs each day is associated with higher all-cause mortality in participants. However, no significant link was found between dietary cholesterol consumption and mortality related to heart disease. Dont cook your eggs in butter, and skip the side of bacon.
Putting Together A Low Cholesterol Diet
When it comes to investing money, experts recommend creating a portfolio of diverse investments instead of putting all your eggs in one basket. The same holds true for eating your way to lower cholesterol. Adding several foods to lower cholesterol in different ways should work better than focusing on one or two.
A largely vegetarian “dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods” substantially lowers LDL, triglycerides, and blood pressure. The key dietary components are plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains instead of highly refined ones, and protein mostly from plants. Add margarine enriched with plant sterols oats, barley, psyllium, okra, and eggplant, all rich in soluble fiber soy protein and whole almonds.
Of course, shifting to a cholesterol-lowering diet takes more attention than popping a daily statin. It means expanding the variety of foods you usually put in your shopping cart and getting used to new textures and flavors. But it’s a “natural” way to lower cholesterol, and it avoids the risk of muscle problems and other side effects that plague some people who take statins.
Just as important, a diet that is heavy on fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts is good for the body in ways beyond lowering cholesterol. It keeps blood pressure in check. It helps arteries stay flexible and responsive. It’s good for bones and digestive health, for vision and mental health.
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Cook With Herbs And Spices
Herbs and spices are nutritional powerhouses packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Human studies have shown that garlic, turmeric and ginger are especially effective at lowering cholesterol when eaten regularly .
In fact, eating just one garlic clove per day for three months is enough to lower total cholesterol by 9% .
In addition to lowering cholesterol, herbs and spices contain antioxidants that prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing, reducing the formation of plaques within your arteries .
Even though herbs and spices are not typically eaten in large quantities, they can contribute significantly to the total amount of antioxidants consumed each day .
Dried oregano, sage, mint, thyme, clove, allspice and cinnamon contain some of the highest numbers of antioxidants, as well as fresh herbs such as oregano, marjoram, dill and cilantro .
Summary Both fresh and dried herbs and spices can help lower cholesterol levels. They contain antioxidants that prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidation.