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Some margarines and other foods contain plant stanols and sterols can help lower cholesterol.

All foods from moving creatures, such as meat, chicken, fish, diary products and eggs contain cholesterol. A diet high in cholesterol can raise blood cholesterol for some people and increase risk for a heart attack. However, some people can eat a high-cholesterol diet and not have their blood levels rise because their livers just make less. No plants contain cholesterol, but they contain sterols and stanols that have structures so similar to cholesterol that they can block the absorption of cholesterol when taken with foods that contain cholesterol. Three grams of stanols per day can lower blood levels of the bad LDL cholesterol by about 15 percent. Stanols from plants are even more effective when combined with drugs to lower cholesterol. So far, tests show that these plants stanols are safe.

Effects of plant sterols and stanols on lipid metabolism and cardiovascular risk. J Plat, RP Mensink. Nutrition Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 2001, Vol 11, Iss 1, pp 31-40 Mensink RP, Maastricht Univ, Dept Human Biol, POB 616, NL-6200 MD Maastricht, NETHERLANDS

Checked 8/31/05

May 21st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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