Does Olive Oil Help Lower cholesterol?

In this modern living, there are lots of fast foods that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Therefore, it’s important to educate yourself on how to have a better idea in choosing foods that you eat in your daily diet. Fortunately, there are still plenty options you can choose to control and lower your blood cholesterol levels. And when it comes to enhancing the flavor and texture of foods, olive oil can be one of healthy choices you should prioritize. Unlike butter, margarine, coconut oil, or palm oil – olive oil is high in unsaturated fat which can be helpful to improve the health of your heart.

Olive oil – what actually is it?

It is not only healthy oil due to low in saturated fats, but many times people also call it as smart oil because it contains omega-3 fatty acids (a kind of polyunsaturated fats) that can be very useful to improve the health of your heart. It is native to Asia Minor. Today it is not only popular in Mediterranean diet, now you can find it easily in your local area.

olive_oil_gettySeveral decades ago, you may not like it due to its strong flavor. But nowadays, it comes in some different options and you can choose one that meets to your taste. In line with the popularity of essential nutrients of olive oil, there are now more and more people who use and consume it.

And if you are looking for one that is finest and fruitiest type, one that is cold-pressed and labeled with ‘extra-virgin’ is commonly more recommended, according to the recommendation by the Food Network’s Online Encyclopedia. This type is made with a chemical-free process. It only involves pressure but can produce oil with low acidity.

Can olive oil help lower cholesterol?

Yes it can, and there are several reasons why it can help lower your blood cholesterol levels.

The following are some of these reasons.

Low in saturated fat and free in cholesterol

Unlike coconut or palm oil, olive oil is free of cholesterol and low in saturated fats. As well we know, saturated fats are the major dietary factor that can significantly increase the level of LDL (bad cholesterol).

Even foods high in saturated fats have much more contribution in increasing the levels of your LDL than foods high in cholesterol.

Omega-3 fatty acids (a type of healthy fat called polyunsaturated fat)

Some studies have confirmed the effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids in helping to lower triglycerides. To travel in the blood, triglyceride is carried by very low density lipoprotein (VLDL – another kind of cholesterol if classified by the type of lipoprotein that carries cholesterol in the bloodstream).

The raised amounts of VLDL in the bloodstream are equal with the raised amounts of triglyceride because VLDL is formed by a combination of triglycerides and cholesterols. Having too much triglyceride also can increase your risk of getting atherosclerosis and clogged arteries.

Olive oil may not provide omega-3 fatty acids as much as in certain fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines. But at least, it can be one of your alternative choices to boost your omega-3 fatty acids intake – particularly if you don’t like eating fish.

The following is a helpful table (source: WebMD) about nutrition facts of hazelnut oil, olive oil, almond oil, canola oil, and peanut oil.

High in monounsaturated fats

Unsaturated fats (both monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats) are great for the health of your heart. Like polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats also can help lower LDL.

But both types can work less effective if most of your fat intake is saturated fat. For best result, the most of your daily fat intake should be unsaturated fats.

The explanations above can tell you that olive oil should be one of you top lists when you are looking for smart fat. In fact, it is also one of main components in Mediterranean diet (a kind of healthy diet that is increasing popular nowadays).

See also other healthy foods that can boost your HDL (medically considered as ‘good cholesterol’) and lower your LDL in this section!

Still, moderation is the key

However any oils, including for olive oil also contains calories. So, it’s important to eat it in moderation otherwise you may gain weight if you consume it too much.

If you gain weight higher than normal, it can increase your risk of getting raised LDL because overweight or obesity is one of risk factors of high cholesterol.

Furthermore, though it is high in monounsaturated fats and contain some polyunsaturated fats – but it also has some saturated fats. Therefore again, you need to consume it moderately!

What else you should concern to get the health benefit of olive oil optimally?

Below are some major checklists you should concern: