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Are Olives High in Cholesterol?

author image Nina K.
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by,, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.
Are Olives High in Cholesterol?
Bowl of assorted olives Photo Credit: loloalvarez/iStock/Getty Images

As a plant, olives do not contain any cholesterol. While they are relatively high in fat, olives primarily contain monounsaturated fats that actually help lower cholesterol levels in the body. Cholesterol is only present in animal products such as meat, butter and cheese, which means that people watching their cholesterol intake should focus on eating less of these foods and more fruits such as olives, along with vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts.

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Olives and Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that all animals, including humans, naturally produce. Plants such as olive trees, however, do not make cholesterol. Instead, they produce phytosterols, or plant sterols, that are similar to cholesterol but do not cause the same health problems. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, phytosterols may block the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines, helping to lower the amount of "bad" LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. Olive oil is particularly rich in phytosterols, as are wheat germ, rice-bran oil and nuts.

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