How to get plant sterols through diet

Date:Apr 08, 2021

Although plant sterols have long been praised by scholars and experts around the world as the "key of life", they have begun to study. However, this nutrient that is so important to humans cannot be synthesized by the body itself, and the only way to obtain it is through diet.

Studies have shown that in the diet of Chinese residents, the total daily intake of plant sterols is about 322 mg, which cannot achieve the effect of lowering cholesterol. In response to this situation, experts recommend increasing the intake of plant sterols through a variety of dietary channels.

Many plant foods contain plant sterols, of which cereals are the most common. Generally speaking, grains such as purple rice, barley, buckwheat, millet, corn, etc. have a relatively high content of phytosterols. On average, every 100 grams of grains contains more than 60 mg of phytosterols.

The phytosterol content of legumes is higher than that of cereals. In every 100 grams of soybeans, the content of plant sterols exceeds 100 mg. Tofu is the most common soy product, containing about 30 mg of plant sterols per 100 grams.

Vegetables and fruits can also provide plant sterols. Among vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli, and oatmeal have relatively high phytosterol content, while wax gourd, eggplant, bell pepper, etc. have relatively low phytosterol content. Among fruits, oranges, tangerines, hawthorn, etc. have relatively high phytosterol content, and watermelon and cantaloupe have relatively low phytosterol content.

Vegetable oil is the food with the highest phytosterol content. Take common vegetable oils (the content of phytosterols per 100 grams) as an example: refined corn oil is about 768 mg; sesame oil is about 700 mg; refined soybean oil is about 419 mg; peanut oil is about 250 mg. It can be said that vegetable oil is an important source of plant sterols in the diet. However, the Chinese Nutrition Society recommends that the daily intake of vegetable oil is 25 grams. At present, the intake has exceeded this amount in both urban and rural areas, and it is even more serious in large cities. Excessive intake of vegetable oil will lead to excess calories and increase the incidence of chronic diseases such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, it is not advisable to blindly increase the intake of vegetable oils in order to obtain more phytosterols. Therefore, we should appropriately adjust the types of edible oils, and choose vegetable oils with high phytosterols as cooking oils, so that we can take in more phytosterols without changing calories.

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