Phytosterols

Many healthy plant foods — including nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and legumes — contain considerable amounts of phytosterols. Phytosterols are used in margarines.

Phytosterols, which encompass plant sterols and stanols, are phytosteroids, similar to cholesterol, which occur in plants. They are found in the cell membranes of plants. They vary only in carbon side chains and/or presence or absence of a double bond. Stanols are saturated sterols, having no double bonds in the sterol ring structure. Free phytosterols extracted from oils are insoluble in water, relatively insoluble in oil, and soluble in alcohols. Many healthy plant foods — including nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and legumes — contain considerable amounts of phytosterols. Phytosterols are used in margarines.

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