How can I benefit from plant sterols?

If you have high cholesterol, you may be at risk of heart disease, which can lead to serious problems such as heart attack and stroke. But there are different types of cholesterol. Too much LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or "bad" cholesterol can cause fatty plaques to build up in your blood vessels, which increases your risk of heart disease.

There are many ways to lower your LDL cholesterol, including cholesterol-lowering medications, smoking cessation, losing weight, and healthy eating. There is also a natural way to lower LDL: eating plant sterols.

Plant sterols are naturally occurring substances in plant based foods. Plant sterols block cholesterol from the foods you eat from getting into your bloodstream. Eating about 2 grams of plant sterols per day has been shown to lower total and LDL cholesterol levels by about 5% to 15%.

If you are taking medications to lower your cholesterol and would like to try plant sterols, check with your doctor to see if your medication dose needs to be adjusted after you start eating plant sterols regularly. You should also check with your dietitian, doctor, or pharmacist about other diet changes that can help you control your cholesterol.

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