Cholesterol and extra virgin olive oil
Cholesterol is a fatty, waxy substance that the body needs but creates on its own. People consume extra cholesterol through their diet, some of which moves to the liver for release from the body. If too much cholesterol builds up in the arteries, it can cause heart conditions, stroke, or other health issues.
Olive oil may help lower cholesterol levels as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Extra Virgin Olive Oil undergoes the least processing and retains the most polyphenols, which may be important in reducing LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol.
People can consume Extra Virgin Olive Oil raw or as an ingredient in many dishes. For maximum benefits, people may wish to consume other healthy foods and avoid those containing saturated and trans fats.
A 2019 analysis summarized the findings of 27 studies on the effect of olive oil on cholesterol. It concluded that olive oil consumption decreased total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides and increased HDL more than other plant oils. Another analysis from the same year noted the importance of a person’s overall diet in helping to lower cholesterol. Researchers concluded that the lowering effect on LDL primarily resulted from the participants following a Mediterranean diet, which includes a lot of olive oil, rather than from simply consuming olive oil on its own. The researchers noted beneficial increases in HDL cholesterol from consuming olive oil that is high in polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidant-rich plant compounds with various health benefits.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is known as “good” cholesterol because it moves cholesterol through the body into the liver. The liver then filters the cholesterol out of the body.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is “bad” cholesterol because high LDL levels may result in plaque buildup in the arteries.
Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) carries triglycerides. It also contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries.