New research found that LDL “bad” cholesterol is lowered most when plant sterols are consumed in smaller amounts more often throughout the day, rather than in one large amount each day. In the group of people who received plant sterols three times per day, their LDL cholesterol decreased by 6%, which was attributed to a significant reduction in cholesterol absorption in the small intestine.
The average American diet contains around 250 to 500 milligrams of plant sterols per day, but some research suggests striving for 2,000 milligrams.
Plant sterols are found naturally in small amounts in many plants food you know and love including whole grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. But the foods that have impressive amounts include:
- Avocado, 1 small = 132 mg plant sterols
- Soybeans, 1 cup = 90 mg plant sterols
- Chickpeas, 1/2 cup = 25 mg plant sterols
- Almonds, 1 ounce = 34 mg plant sterols
- Extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon = 30 mg plant sterols
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