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Consuming foods with plant sterols plays a role in managing heart health, says Nestlé Malaysia

By Jim Cornall+

15-Aug-2016

According to Nestlé Malaysia, plant sterols can help cut cholestrol levels. One in two Malaysians suffers from high cholesterol. Pic: ©iStock/EduardHarkonen
According to Nestlé Malaysia, plant sterols can help cut cholestrol levels. One in two Malaysians suffers from high cholesterol. Pic: ©iStock/EduardHarkonen

Studies at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and the UKM Medical Centre show that Malaysians in their 30s are now more likely to have arteries similar to a person aged 70 due to their lifestyles.

According to Nestlé, the National Heart Institute's (IJN) Director, Tan Sri Dr. Robaayah Zambahari has stressed that individuals as young as in their 20s are being diagnosed with heart disease.

Negating high cholesterol

Nestlé says that one in two Malaysians suffers from high cholesterol.

The 2015 National Health and Morbidity Survey revealed that nearly 20 million Malaysians above the age of 18 are at risk of diseases that may lead to the development of heart disease.

Exercise and diet can, however, lower the risk of developing heart disease.

Plant sterols

Nestlé says that one way to manage cholesterol levels is through adding plant sterols to the diet.

According to Heart UK, plant sterols are effective in lowering cholesterol levels by up to 10% when taken at optimal doses and as part of low saturated fat diet in just over three weeks.

Plant sterols can block the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream, and can be found in grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

Some foods, such as Nestlé Omega Plus milk, are enriched with added plant sterols.

"Plant sterols in plants work in the same way as cholesterol in humans - as an essential nutrient for life present in all cells," said Dr Alexandre Panchaud, R&D manager at Nestlé Singapore.

"Plant sterols work by 'blocking' cholesterol from being absorbed. Cholesterol that is not absorbed will be excreted out as waste from our body," he added.

Panchaud said that 1.2g per day is the well accepted range for an effect of 7% cholesterol reduction. 

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