(Family Features) - For people suffering from high cholesterol, there's been a lot of excitement as of late about foods fortified with plant sterols. These plant-based compounds have been proven to help lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, aka bad cholesterol. Clinical studies indicate that, when consumed as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, plant sterols can help inhibit the absorption of cholesterol by as much as 50 percent, which, in turn, can lower LDL blood cholesterol by up to 15 percent.
Plant sterols occur naturally in fruit, vegetables, whole-grain products and most vegetable oils, but usually at levels too low to effectively combat LDL cholesterol. However, recent scientific studies have shown that plant sterols added to other foods at higher levels can result in lower blood cholesterol and reduced risk for coronary heart disease.
In its 2006 Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations, the American Heart Association (AHA) stated that individuals should consume plant sterols daily from a wide variety of foods and beverages-just as they would use cholesterol-lowering medication-in order to maintain LDL cholesterol reductions from these products. The AHA also notes that maximum effects are achieved at sterol intakes of approximately 2 grams per day.
Certified nutritional consultant Emily Longway agrees. "Plant sterols are among the most exciting developments happening in the functional food world right now," said Longway. "And it's easy to sneak plant sterols into your daily diet, especially when creating heart-healthy snacks. This buffalo chicken kebab recipe is one of my favorites and is always a crowd pleaser at parties."
Two heart-healthy snack choices containing plant sterols are Corazonas Heart-Healthy Tortilla and Potato Chips. Both are great tasting, all-natural, and clinically proven to help lower LDL cholesterol. In addition, the tortilla chips contain 18 grams of whole grain and the potato chips have 40 percent less fat than regular potato chips.
If you are proactively managing your cholesterol, the makers of Corazonas challenge you to "Chip Away at Your Cholesterol" in just 28 days or they will refund the cost of your chips.
To find out more about the Challenge, and for additional heart-healthy recipes, visit corazonas.com.