In the title of this article, we use two terms that seem to go hand in hand, those of olive oil and cholesterol. But, as you will see from this article, olive oil and cholesterol are linked but only in that olive oil destroys bad cholesterol and increases levels of good cholesterol. But, first of all, we should define what cholesterol is. So let’s begin:
What is cholesterol? What do we mean by good and bad cholesterol? What can happen to your health if you suffer from high levels of cholesterol? Is extra virgin olive oil good for reducing cholesterol? Is it better than other types of oil? What habits should you change to have a correct level of cholesterol? If you are interested in the answers to all of these questions, continue reading because we are going to answer all of them.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is an anomaly. It is as clear as that. It is an alteration in lipids within the blood. You already know that lipids or fats need to be present in your daily diet but always in the correct quantity. Well, this alteration in lipids can accumulate in the walls of the arteries. When this happens, you could suffer from serious cardiovascular illnesses.
You must also differentiate between bad cholesterol or LPL which is what causes the fats or lipids to stick to the arteries and good cholesterol or HDL, which is beneficial for health. We, therefore, need to look at bad cholesterol to explain health risks.
What happens if you have a high level of bad cholesterol?
If you have cholesterol levels of 240 or more, you could suffer from the following illnesses:
- Arteriosclerosis, which is an obstruction of the the veins due to an excess of fats which prevent correct blood circulation.
- Heart diseases, which could end up in a heart attack.
- Angina, which occurs as a result of lack of insufficient blood reaching a part of the heart. It usually occurs during physical effort.
- Strokes, that is to say that the blood does not reach the brain and can cause paralysis, speech loss and even death.
If you are interested in knowing all the differences between good and bad cholesterol, you can consult this video prepared by the Spanish Heart Foundation:
Why is extra virgin olive oil good in the fight against cholesterol?
Because extra virgin olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats. These are the fats which increase good cholesterol and reduce the bad type contrasting with other foodstuffs which are full of saturated fats, responsible in part for the increase in cholesterol. Among these foods, we have dairy products and meat. These foods can be eaten but always in moderation so as not to increase the level of bad cholesterol.
Is extra virgin olive oil better than other oils?
The answer to this question has to be definitely yes. Dressing your salad or cooking with extra virgin olive oil is much more beneficial because it contains a far greater level of monounsaturated fats than virgin olive oil, which is olive oil and is obviously much more beneficial than sunflower oil and we are not going to even mention coconut or palm vegetable oils. These last two have a very high level of saturated fats and are consequently very damaging for health.
When we talk about extra virgin olive oil, we are talking about the real juice of the olive. A very healthy product, unblended and with a high percentage of polyphenols. Polyphenols are compounds which are very powerful in the anti-ageing process and ward off against many illnesses such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative illnesses.
Extra virgin olive oil is a natural product, not blended with other oils. It is produced from the olive always at its perfect moment of ripeness and using the most modern technology on the market.
Conclusions from this article on ‘olive oil and cholesterol’
Daily consumption of extra virgin olive oil produces a decrease in bad cholesterol without having the same effect on the good type. Quite the opposite, in fact. It reinforces the beneficial effects of the good type because among other things, it moves the excess cholesterol from the arteries to the liver, where it will be eliminated from the organism.
When you buy a bottle which only says ‘olive oil’ on the label, you should know that you are buying refined oil to which, on many occasions, extra virgin olive oil is added to give it more flavour but you must realize that you are losing all the beneficial qualities that extra virgin olive oil possesses. And it is more than obvious that this difference becomes even greater when you buy other types of vegetable oils.
Other ways of reducing bad cholesterol
We have already seen that to reduce bad colesterol, it is necessary to use extra virgin olive oil in preference to other oils. But that is not all. To obtain this goal, you should also:
- Choose a healthy diet
- Reduce alcohol consumption
- Give up smoking
- Keep to your correct weight
- Do exercise
Your diet should be based on:
- Fruit and vegetables. And have five portions per day as recommended by the World Health Organization and other dietary information areas based on 5 a day.
- Eat wholegrain cereals such as bread, pasta and rice.
- Consume three servings of pulses per week
- Consume three servings of oily fish per week. The most highly recommended are sardines, anchovies and tuna
- Eat nuts such as walnuts and almonds
All the aforementioned foods will provide you with nutrients which will help you to reduce the level of bad cholesterol in blood since all of them contain monounsaturated fats as does extra virgin olive oil. Oily fish provides the fatty acid Omega-3 while fruit and vegetables provide you with antioxidants.
In short, what you must do is follow the Mediterranean diet, considered by almost all experts in nutrition as the healthiest dietary model in the world. And it is precisely extra virgin olive oil which is at the centre of the Mediterranean diet.
In summary, if you wish to have correct levels of cholesterol and not put your health at risk, you should opt for extra virgin olive oil, much better than other types of oil because it is not for nothing that it is the natural olive juice not blended with anything else and produced with the most up to date technology available. It goes without saying that, besides consuming olive oil, you must change your habits and opt for a healthier lifestyle, a balanced diet and exercise.
So, as you have read in this article, there does exist a close link between olive oil and cholesterol. But you have to bear in mind that there are two types of cholesterol: good and bad. Olive oil eliminates the bad and increases the good, something which is fantastic for your health.
Many studies have been carried out on the relationship between olive oil and cholesterol and the most recent investigations indicate that the consumption of olive oil is one of the best ways of combatting bad cholesterol and consequently, cardiovascular disease.
In future, when you read the words ‘olive oil and cholesterol’ in another article, you should rid your mind of the idea that the oil increases the levels of cholesterol and is therefore, a harmful foodstuff. There is nothing further from the truth, which is what we have shown you here.