Foods Rich in Phytosterols

The foods that contain phytosterols all belong to the plant world (with the exception of ADDED foods).

In Food

Foods Rich in Phytosterols

Foods that contain phytosterols are vegetable oils, dried fruit (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, etc.), legumes, some seeds, cereals, fresh fruit, vegetables and lately also added yoghurts (see EC regulation 2004).

Average intake in the diet

  • The intake of phytosterols in the diet normally varies between 150 and 450 mg per day, in relation to the subject's dietary habits; for example, in the diet of vegetarians the intake of phytosterols can rise up to 700 mg/day and beyond. The most common phytosterols in human nutrition are Beta-sitosterol, campesterol and stigmasterol, which contribute respectively 65%, 30% and 3% to the overall dietary intake. A yogurt enriched with phytosterols much advertised in Italy declares a content of 1.6 g of phytosterols per portion (one vial).

Functional foods

Foods that possess good amounts of phytosterols are considered farmalimenti o functional foods as they fall into the category of foods containing molecules nutraceutiche, therefore medicinal; nutraceutical molecules are food substances with proven beneficial and protective characteristics for both the physical and psychological health of the individual.

Foods that contain phytosterols can be useful in the integrative or adjuvant treatment of lipoprotein disorders; consequently they were included in therapeutic lifestyle change guidelines; it is possible to state that in the medium and long term, the consumption of functional foods containing phytosterols can reduce hypercholesterolemia by approximately 10%, but the effectiveness of foods containing phytosterols is strictly linked to the method of intake; in particular, these must necessarily be consumed EVERY DAY, BEFORE the two or three main meals of the day.

An important clarification…

Phytosterols cannot replace drug therapy against hypercholesterolemia; furthermore, their consumption DOES NOT allow you to adopt incorrect eating habits and, in general, does NOT effectively compensate for genetic and/or familial pathologies.


  • Products of plant origin in medicine, nutrition, herbal medicine and cosmetics. Pharmaceutical & cosmetic technique – M. Silano, V. Silano – New techniques – pages 13-14
  • Heart diseases. Treatise on cardiovascular medicine. Seventh edition. Volume 1 – DP Zipes, P. Libby, RO Bonow, E. Braunwald – Elsevier Masson – page 10027
  • Regulation (EC) 258/97 C 2004 1245
  • Regulation (EC) 333,334,335,336 and 608/2004 of 31 March 2004


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