To Your Health: Tools to lower cholesterol

To Your Health: Tools to lower cholesterol By Pam Carter, RD Plant stanols, a tool to help lower cholesterol

As more Americans suffer from high cholesterol, consumers everywhere are looking for new tools to help them get healthy and bring down their cholesterol numbers. Plant stanols/sterols are a new food ingredient that can help reduce LDL cholesterol. Plant stanols are found naturally in many fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently announced that consumption of foods containing plant stanol esters may reduce the risk of heart disease when part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Many people are probably asking how these plant stanol esters work. Plant stanol esters help block absorption of cholesterol from the digestive tract. This in turn helps to lower blood levels of LDL cholesterol without affecting HDL cholesterol levels.

Clinical research has shown that plant stanol esters can reduce LDL cholesterol when two servings of foods containing this ingredient are consumed daily. Consumption of three servings per day can mean a cholesterol reduction of as much as 20 points.

Where do we find plant stanols? Plant stanols are found in small quantities in vegetable oils and products such as soy, corn, rye and wheat. Currently only a few foods contain added stanols: Take Control Margarine, Smart Balance Omega PLUS Buttery Spread, Benecol, Minute Maid Heart Wise orange juice and Yoplait Healthy Heart yogurts.

Yoplait Healthy Heart is one of the newest foods to add plant stanols. Two servings of Yoplait Healthy Heart contain the same amount of plant sterols as 22 servings of Brussels sprouts or 24 servings of broccoli or cauliflower. The Yoplait Healthy Heart yogurts are available in strawberry, harvest peach, cherry orchard and strawberry banana flavors and they are a yummy new way to be good to your heart.

Minute Maid Heart Wise orange juice is another everyday food that contains heart-healthy plant stanols. In a clinical study conducted at a major medical center, participants significantly lowered their LDL cholesterol by drinking two 8-fluid-ounce servings of Minute Maid Premium Heart Wise orange juice daily with meals for eight weeks.

Plant stanols have the potential to be incorporated into lots of foods. Keep a lookout for new foods arriving in your stores that contain this unique ingredient. In the meantime, enjoy this juicy tropical fruit salad using Minute Maid Heart Wise orange juice.

Juicy Tropical

Fruit Salad

All you need:

1 medium banana, sliced

1 cup red grapes

1 medium orange, peeled and sectioned

1 medium mango, peeled and cubed

1 cup fresh pineapple chunks

2 kiwi, peeled and sliced

1/3 (one-third) cup Minute Maid Heart Wise orange juice

1 tbsp Hy-Vee lemon juice

1 tbsp Splenda sweetener

All you do

In a medium bowl, combine banana, grapes, orange sections, mango, pineapple and kiwi. In a small bowl, stir together orange juice, lemon juice and Splenda. Pour orange juice mixture over fruit before serving. Toss gently to coat.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 80 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 20 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 16 g sugar, 1 g protein. Source:

Hy-Vee registered dietitians are available to the public to answer questions about smart eating. For more information, recipe ideas or to contact your local dietitians, visit and click on health or call toll-free 866-865-4878.

This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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