16. Foods Fortified by Plant Sterols
The term phytosterols include both plant sterols and plant stanols. Both are chemicals that occur naturally in plants. They have no taste or odor, so it’s easy for manufacturers to fortify foods with them. The original flavor of the food won’t be affected by the fortification. They work because their structure is the same as that as cholesterol. That means that they compete with cholesterol for the opportunity to be absorbed in the intestine. And they tend to be victorious. They are absorbed instead of the cholesterol. They don’t cause the same harm that cholesterol does. So, when your body absorbs them instead of cholesterol, your arteries can’t get clogged.
Studies conducted have shown that consuming foods fortified with plant sterols and stanols does lower the levels of cholesterol in the body. But you need to eat them every day to take advantage of their benefits. Foods fortified with plant sterols and stanols include wholegrain bread and cereals, rice and pasta, and reduced-fat dairy products.