I am considering plant sterols. What next?

Are plant sterols for me?

There are a few questions to ask yourself to find out if plant sterols are right for you:

  1. Am I ready to commit to consuming plant sterols regularly?
    It will mean changes to your diet, so you may want to consult with a registered dietitian. When choosing foods, keep your allergies in mind – foods rich in plant sterols may also contain common ingredients such as nuts, soy, and gluten.
  2. Do I have any medical conditions?
    Check with your doctor before using plant sterols if you:
    • have a history of gallstones
    • have intestinal or bowel disease
    • have medical conditions affecting the brain, such as Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's disease
    • have breast cancer and are taking tamoxifen
  3. Am I pregnant or breast-feeding?
    If so, check with your doctor before using plant sterols.

What to look for when grocery shopping

When you're in the grocery store, here's what to look for:

  • natural food products rich in plant sterols, such as:
    • cereals
    • legumes
    • nuts and seeds
    • vegetable oils
  • foods fortified with plant sterols (check the label to see if plant sterols have been added), such as:
    • spreads
    • mayonnaise
    • margarine
    • salad dressing
    • yogurt and yogurt drinks
    • vegetable and fruit juices

Plant sterol supplements are also available without a prescription. Consult with your physician, your pharmacist, or a registered dietitian.

How much do I need?

The National Cholesterol Education Program (in the United States) recommends a daily intake of about 2 grams of plant sterols to reduce LDL cholesterol by about 5% to 15%. Health Canada has set an upper limit of 3 grams of plants sterols a day for adults and 1 gram per day for children 5 years of age and older.

Are they safe?

Health Canada considers plant sterols to be safe as long as you do not consume more than the upper limit (3 grams a day for adults and 1 gram a day for children 5 and over). Plant-sterol-fortified foods are not recommended for pregnant and breast-feeding women or for children under 5 years of age because of other nutritional priorities. However, there are no safety concerns if these people do accidentally consume foods fortified with plant sterols. Speak with your physician if you are considering the use of plant sterols to lower your cholesterol.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Plant-Sterols-Fight-Cholesterol-Naturally