Plant sterols, also known as phytosterols, are molecules found naturally in a variety of plants and plant-based foods such as nuts, seed and vegetable oils. These molecules are closely related to cholesterol and play a key role in the structure of cell membranes, as plant sterols have the ability to block the absorption of cholesterol, they are best known for improving heart health and lowering blood levels of bad cholesterol.
Campesterol, beta-sitosterol and stigmasterol are the most common plant sterols found in foods, all of which can help to support cholesterol levels and heart health.
How do plant sterols support heart health?
Plant sterols could reduce cholesterol absorption by up to 50%, by competing with the dietary cholesterol in your gut for certain enzymes needed for their metabolism. According to a study, supplementing with 2g of plant sterols per day may reduce the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in your blood by up to 10%.
Plant sterol sources
There are a vast variety of plant-based foods that contain good amounts of plant sterols, and for this reason it’s thought that those that follow a vegan or vegetarian tend to consume more plant sterols than those that follow meat-based diets. Foods containing plant sterols include:
Nuts, such as pistachios, macadamia nuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts and hazelnuts
Seeds, such as pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and watermelon seeds
Fruits, such as pineapples, oranges, berries, bananas, apples and apricots
Vegetables, such as artichokes, broccoli, green beans, cabbage, asparagus, sweet potatoes, celery and cauliflower
Legumes, such as chickpeas, lentils, adzuki beans and soy beans
Alternatively, many people prefer to take a plant sterol supplement. Try our powerful plant sterol complex containing over 30% beta-sitosterol.