For those of us interested in lowering cholesterol to the recommended level, having a healthy and varied diet and replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats
* are key. But it is also possible to complement these changes with cholesterol-lowering compounds, like plant sterols** or beta-glucans*** – it’s another way to help your efforts along. There are two ways people generally like to try this: with cholesterol-lowering supplements, or by enjoying foods containing beta-glucan or added plant sterols as part of their healthy diet.
So what is the difference between using cholesterol-lowering supplements and using foods like Flora ProActiv to lower cholesterol, and how can one include them in the diet simply and easily?
Why use Flora ProActiv and plant sterol supplements to lower cholesterol?
Plant sterols are found naturally in small amounts in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, cereals, fruit, and vegetables. However, as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, eating between 1.5 and 2.4g of plant sterols a day is needed to lower cholesterol by 7-10% in 2-3 weeks**.
But it is not really possible to eat this quantity of plant sterols simply by adding more fruits, vegetables, and nuts to your diet. You would have to eat rather a lot to achieve the amount required for this cholesterol lowering effect. That is why many people interested in lowering their cholesterol to a desirable level choose Flora ProActiv products, occasionally alongside cholesterol lowering supplements.
What about using beta-glucan supplements to reduce cholesterol?
Beta-glucans, found in oats and barley, have been shown to lower blood cholesterol. A daily intake of 3g of oat or barley beta-glucan would be necessary – this tends to be between two and four portions of oat or barley products, such as oat porridge, cereals, and pearl barley. It’s also possible to use supplements alongside this.
When using beta-glucan or plant sterols supplements to lower cholesterol, it’s important to remember that the amount you’d want to consume to see a significant effect varies – so it is strongly advised that you read all the information on the packet. It also depends on the kind of supplement you choose. For example, you would need to take different amounts of plant sterols or beta-glucans*** to achieve the same result.
It is vitally important that you talk to a health professional about any dietary supplements that claim to lower cholesterol before you try them – they will be able to give guidance on how viable this option is for you as well as advice on finding a suitable source for your purchase.
Using Flora ProActiv alongside supplements to reduce cholesterol
Some of the easiest ways to lower cholesterol involve making simple changes to your diet. Eating foods containing added plant sterols can help**. One of the main benefits of eating these foods to reduce cholesterol is that they make it simple to replace foods high in saturated fat, like butter or full fat milk, without compromising on taste.
This is why Flora ProActiv products contain added plant sterols – just three servings of our spread or milk drink a day, or one Flora ProActiv mini-drink a day, provide enough plant sterols to help actively lower cholesterol. For the best results, it’s a good idea to enjoy each of these options (including milk and mini-drinks) with a meal.
Three servings a day of:
- Flora ProActiv spread. One serving = two teaspoons (10g), enough to cover one to two slices of bread, or to melt over a dish.
One serving a day of:
- Flora ProActiv mini-drink. One serving = one (small) bottle. They come in four delicious flavours, and can be bought in packs of six
Easy ways to enjoy Flora ProActiv and lower cholesterol
- Enjoy our spread on high fibre wholegrain toast at breakfast.
- Add a little of our skimmed milk drink to your tea or coffee during the day.
- Use the spread in a sandwich along with your favourite filling.
- Blend our milk or one of our mini-drinks with fresh fruit for a delicious smoothie.
- Melt the spread over vegetables as a side dish or as a topping on your main dish.
- Finely chop herbs and blend with our spread for a flavoured sauce to melt on whole grain pasta.
- Melt our spread inside baked potatoes, before adding the healthy toppings of your choice.
- Beat a little spread into drained boiled potatoes, sweet potatoes, or even butternut squash for a creamy mash.
You can also add Flora ProActiv spreads to your diet with one of the balanced recipes on this site. Popular recipes include our buttermilk scones with orange and cinnamon spread for brunch or breakfast, and our Thai green curry main.
Important things to know about Flora ProActiv and cholesterol-lowering supplements
- Foods with added plant sterols fit in nicely with a healthy, balanced diet, with plenty of variety.
- Plant sterols supplements do not remove the need for a varied and balanced diet, and they cannot restore an unhealthy diet.
- There are additional – and important – ways to lower cholesterol: replace saturated fat with unsaturated fat in your diet and maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise.
- Find out if your cholesterol is above the recommended level by booking in a test with a healthcare professional. They will also be able to give you personal advice on diet and lifestyle.
To find out more about plant sterols, and how they can help lower cholesterol, take a look at our comprehensive plant sterols video guide. To let us help you get started on lowering your cholesterol today, download our free Cholesterol Lowering Starter Kit here.
*Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats in the diet has been shown to lower blood cholesterol. High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease. There are many risk factors for coronary heart disease and it is important to take care of all of them to reduce the overall risk of it.
*** Beta-glucans have been shown to lower blood cholesterol. High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease. A daily intake of 3g of oat or barley beta-glucan is necessary for a cholesterol-reducing effect.
- Hooper L et al.(2015). Reduction in saturated fat intake for cardiovascular disease. Cochrane database of systematic reviews.
- Commission Regulation (EU) No 686/2014 as 20 June 2014 amending Regulations (EC) No 983/2009 and (EU) No 384/2010 as regards the conditions of use of certain health claims related to the lowering effect of plant sterols and plant stanols on blood LDL-cholesterol.
- EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) (2011). Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to barley beta‐glucans and lowering of blood cholesterol and reduced risk of (coronary) heart disease pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006
- EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) (2010). Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to oat beta glucan and lowering blood cholesterol and reduced risk of (coronary) heart disease pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006