Good Margarines for Cholesterol

Margarine
Margarine is better for managing cholesterol levels than butter. (Image: kudou/iStock/Getty Images)

There has been some debate over whether margarine or butter is better for people who are watching their cholesterol intake. According to the Cleveland Clinic, many types of margarine are made from plant oils so they don't contain any cholesterol, whereas butter is made from milk, so it does contain cholesterol. Margarines that are softer are better choices because the more solid they are, the more trans fat they contain, a type that can negatively affect your cholesterol even if the margarine is cholesterol free.

Benecol Spread

According to the Mayo Clinic, Benecol is a brand of margarine that is a good choice when you are taking cholesterol intake into consideration. The manufacturers of the product maintain that their margarine can actually lower cholesterol level readings because it is made using plant esters, an ingredient that comes from plants and does not contain any cholesterol and may positively affect existing cholesterol in the blood. Benecol spread is trans fat free and is a good margarine for cooking and baking in addition to spreading it on toast or muffins. Benecol can be found at many supermarkets.

Promise Activ

Promise Activ comes recommended by the Mayo Clinic because it contains no trans fats and is fortified with plant sterols, which are important components of a margarine that is being used to lower or maintain cholesterol levels. According to Promise Activ's manufacturer, this margarine contains only 1 g of saturated fat per tablespoon, which is 85 percent less than traditional stick butter. In addition, the plant compounds present in Promise Activ could have a positive impact on your cholesterol because plant foods play a healthy role in lowering and regulating cholesterol readings. Promise Activ is available at most grocery stores and is a good margarine for promoting healthy cholesterol levels and makes a good spread or baking ingredient.

Smart Balance Heart Right Buttery Spread

Smart Balance Heart Right Buttery Spread is a good margarine choice in terms of having a positive impact on cholesterol levels. The makers of Smart Balance report that this product contains plant sterols, which can lower cholesterol, and has a buttery taste for people who are having a hard time giving up regular butter. Available at most supermarkets, Smart Balance margarine contains no trans fats and is a good source of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, a type of fat that promotes healthy cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease. Smart Balance margarine is a good choice or baking, cooking and spreading.

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