I am a BuzzAgent and have been sent some coupons to try Benecol products in return for spreading the word about them. Benecol products are a range of foods that contain the plant stanol Ester which works along with the body to reduce bad cholesterol levels by blocking their absorption into the blood stream. Plant stanols occur naturally in foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, cereals, olive oil and peanut oils and are a chemical compound that help make up the cellular structure of the plant.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced by the liver and is also contained in the foods we eat. The body actually does use it, it is part of the outer membrane surrounding every cell in the body. It is also used to insulate nerve fibres so that the signals going though the nerves travel though them and in the production of hormones which carry chemical signals round the body. There are two types :
- high density lipoprotein (HDL)
- low density lipoprotein (LDL)
The LDL transports the cholesterol from the liver to the cells where it is used. The unused cholesterol is transported back to the liver by the HDL where it is broken down and flushed out of the body. Problems arise when there is more cholesterol in the body than it can eliminate. This can lead to a build up of fat in the arteries increasing the risk of heart disease. Benecol acts to prevent cholesterol from entering the blood stream, reducing the amount from the normal 50% to 30%, and eliminating it from the body. In combination with a healthy diet it can help reduce cholesterol levels by as much as 14% within two to three weeks.Benecol offers a wide range of products to help you easily add this cholesterol reducing benefit into your diet. They have yoghurt drinks, spreads, dairy free drinks, cream cheese style spreads and yoghurt. It should be easy to swap these into your normal diet, swapping margarine for low-fat light spread for example. It is also easy to cook with them and there is a wide range of very delicious looking recipes on their website here. These products are available in the supermarket.
Currently I have tried two of the products. I tried the Benecol low-fat light spread which I found was a very good margarine substitute. It was very good when melted for cooking or added to mashed potatoes as well. I find that some margarine type products go a bit strange and separate when you heat them but I did not find that happening in this case. It is an easy way to add this product to your diet without noticing.
I also tried the 4 pack of yoghurt. These are available in Tropical Fruits variety (mango, peach, passion fruit and mandarin and pineapple) and a Summer Fruits variety (Strawberry, Cherry, Apricot and Pineapple). I found these had a lovely taste and were filled with really large pieces of fruit. Unfortunately I did not get to try many of them because my son pinched them!