Plant sterols, also known as phytosterols, are plant-based micro-nutrients naturally present in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, cereals, legumes, and some cooking oils.1 Eating foods with plant sterols can help lower cholesterol.2
Did you know that plant sterols can help lower bad cholesterol (LDL)?2
Clinical studies indicate that, when consumed as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, plant sterols can help reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the gut, which can lower LDL blood cholesterol.2
Plant sterols work to lower cholesterol levels by displacing cholesterol molecules from micelles - small clusters of mixed lipids that are absorbed into the bloodstream through the gut. Lipids are naturally occurring fat molecules in the body that, if increased, can result in heightened levels of bad fats in your blood leading to cardiovascular disease.3 Plant sterols in the diet work to reduce the amount of cholesterol in the micelles, which then lowers the amount absorbed into the bloodstream and results in less cholesterol circulation.4
Using cooking oil is an easy way to incorporate plant sterols into your diet. But not all cooking oils are created equal when it comes to plant sterols. Corn oil contains the highest amount of naturally occurring plant sterols per serving compared to other cooking oils. In fact, corn oil contains four times as many plant sterols as olive oil, three times as many as vegetable (soybean) oil and 1.5 times more than canola oil.5 Furthermore, a clinical study found that corn oil can help lower cholesterol two times more than extra virgin olive oil.6
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1. USDA and USDHHS 2010
2. USDA and USDHHS 2010; FDA 2000, 2010; Wu et al. 2009; Demonty et al. 2008, Ellegard et al. 2008; Mensink et al. 2010.
4. FDA 2010; Sanclemente et al. 2009; Nissinen et al. 2002; Amiot et al. 2011
5. USDA National Nutrient Database SR-28, 2016.
6. Maki KC, Lawless AI, Kelley KM, Kaden VN, Dicklin MR. Benefits of corn oil compared to extra virgin olive oil consumption on the plasma lipid profile in men and women with elevated cholesterol: results from a controlled feeding trial. J. Clin. Lipidol. January/February 2015 issue. Study sponsored in part by ACH Food Companies, Inc.
© ACH Food Companies, Inc.
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