Benecol is the brand name of a margarine spreads and salad dressings that is based on canola. Benecol encloses bland and fragrant free or neutral plant chemical compounds known as stanol esters. In other words, Benecol products enclose stanol ester, an active element that helps to lower cholesterol levels in bloodstream, derived from plants.

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A Finnish chemist Ingmar Wester was the first to develop stanol ester. Currently, the product is sold by the Raisio Group under the brand name Benecol. Foods sold under the trade name Benecol contain plant stanol ester and they have been produced for people who desire to lower the level of their serum cholesterol through diet.

It may be noted that phyto or plant stanol ester is a chemical compound comprising plant stanols and oil fatty acids present in vegetables. Plant stanols as wells sterols are naturally present in vegetable oils and grains, however, the quantity of these ingested in a common diet is not adequate enough to lessen the cholesterol levels effectually. Nevertheless, when you add plant stanol ester to your foods and drinks, it offers a daily dose of the substance reducing the blood cholesterol levels considerably.

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In effect, stanol ester belongs to a assorted category of chemical compounds that are believed to lower the intensity of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the bloodstream when consumed - although, to a much slighter extent compared to the prescription drugs, for instance, statins. The basic material from plants is sterols, which are initially hydrogenated to produce stanol. Subsequently, stanol is converted to esters together with a mixture of fatty acids, which too are obtained from plants. In effect, stanol esters naturally occur in little amounts in vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, cereals, legumes and even vegetable oils.

Very frequently, stanol ester is blended with margarine based on rapeseed oil or other foods for the health benefits provided by this plant compound. Several researches have hinted that ingestion of approximately two grams of stanol ester helps to lower LDL cholesterol by approximately 10 per cent. Stanol ester traverses the gut and does not enter either the bloodstream or the lymph. The presence of this compound not only lowers the amount of cholesterol absorbed by the body from foods, but also helps in the re-absorption of the cholesterol constituent of bile.

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In effect, sterol esters too can be used for similar purpose, as these chemical compounds also have similar effect on LDL cholesterol. However, they are basically taken in by the body. The consequences of higher serum plant sterol have not been completely identified by the scientists thus far.

Many foodstuffs naturally contain small amounts of plant stanols. When plant stanols are included in foods, the foods lower the absorption of all sterols from the digestive tract effectually, as a result of which, they also help in lessening the levels of serum cholesterol.

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It may be noted that Benecol is among the most well known global brands in foods that help to effectively lower the cholesterol levels. Benecol plant stanol ester has been patented by Raisio contains plant stanol as its active ingredient and helps to reduce cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. At the same time, Benecol foods also facilitate in enhancing the general health as well as the well-being of the blood vessels. Over 50 clinical studies have confirmed the consequences as well as the safety of using Benecol ingredient. In addition, several studies have also hinted that plant stanol ester traverses through the body virtually unabsorbed.

In terms of practical usage, Benecol has been found to be a superior functional food compared to any dietary supplement. Several researches have detected that when Benecol is used on a regular basis (daily), it helps to reduce complete blood cholesterol as well as LDL cholesterol. In effect, LDL cholesterol is known to be the detrimental constituent that promotes accumulation of fatty plaque within the arteries - a medical condition called atherosclerosis.

As many as two dozen researches undertaken in the United States and Europe have recorded the safety as well as usefulness of Benecol in reducing cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. Benecol is known to work by obstructing the soaking in of dietary cholesterol (cholesterol present in the foodstuff). It has been proved that this product is effective in reducing blood cholesterol levels even in individuals who are habituated to taking low-fat, low-cholesterol diet. According to research, following the use of Benecol spread (approximately one tablespoon thrice daily) on a regular basis for three weeks, a group of men and women noticed an average decline of 9.4 per cent in their total blood cholesterol level and another 14 per cent decline in the damaging LDL cholesterol levels. On the contrary, the intensity of the beneficial high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol remained unaffected despite the use of Benecol.

Consumption of Benecol products on a regular basis is said to be safe for health, as there has been no reports regarding any adverse effects from its use. Nevertheless, this product encloses calories and fat. Benecol is very beneficial for people desiring to lose weight and, hence, such people should include this product in their daily diet plan. It should form a part of their overall heart-healthy, low-cholesterol, low-fat diet and be made use of as an alternative to the corresponding number of calories taken in from other foods that are less healthy. For instance, serving of Benecol on a regular basis is equal to a tablespoon of butter or fats derived from other animals.

The maiden product of Benecol, was a spread introduced into the market in Finland in 1995. Ever since, this product line has increased, incorporating yogurts, yogurt drinks, fat spreads, milk and soy drinks, cream cheese style spreads, bread as well as oatmeal. It may be noted that different Benecol products are available in different countries.

Every bottle of Benecol yogurt drinks encloses 2 grams of plant stanols that are effective in lowering blood cholesterol levels. These yogurt drinks are obtainable in various different flavours and they also include Dairy Free Fruit as well as Soya assortment. Similarly, Yogurts Low fat bio yogurt can also be obtained in an assortment of dissimilar flavours. In the United Kingdom as well as Ireland every yogurt comprises one serving of Benecol - i.e. 0.8 grams of plant stanols. However, outside these two countries, every yogurt encloses two grams of plant stanols.

Spread Benecol available in Finland contains around 32 per cent fat. Rapeseed or canola oil forms the primary source of this fat. Other varieties of Benecol spread introduced in the United Kingdom comprise Olive Spread (enclosing 55 per cent fat), Light Spread (containing 35 per cent fat) and Buttery Taste Spread (containing 63 per cent fat). It may be noted that 20 grams or four teaspoons of Benecol Cream Cheese Style Spread, marketed at Cream Cheese Spread, corresponds to one serving or 0.8 gram of plant stanols.

In order to obtain the utmost benefits from Benecol foods, it is advisable to eat them along with the main meal and use them as a part of a healthy diet and lifestyle in addition to five portions of vegetable and fruits daily.


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