It may be possible to lower cholesterol naturally by eating foods high in plant sterols. According to FDA studies, as well as reports from Harvard Medical School, adding these foods to a healthy diet and exercise plan can be a step in significantly lowering your cholesterol.
Foods High in Sterols
According to most nutritional studies, the average American gets about 250 milligrams of sterols in his diet every day. Vegetarians get a bit more, averaging around 700 milligrams, and people who exist on fast food getting significantly less. The amount recommended by most researchers is two grams.
It is difficult to get significant amounts of sterols in your diet from foods you eat. It is, however, important to eat high sterol foods because these foods contain important vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber. In fact, by eating foods that naturally contain sterols, you will also naturally increase your intake of dietary fiber.
All vegetables contain anywhere from five to forty milligrams of plant sterols, with fruits containing slightly less. The amount of sterols can be increased by drying since vegetables contain a lot of water. Cooking, milling and refining processes all remove a lot of the sterols from the finished product. Grating or juicing retains sterols because the food is left in a raw state.
Manufacturers are beginning to overcome the difficulty of getting enough sterols in the diet by adding them to a variety of foods. Many different kinds of foods have been fortified in this way, from orange juice to margarine.