Olive oil helps optimize cholesterol levels
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your blood. You need it to produce hormones and build healthy cells, but too much cholesterol from a poor diet or family history can up your risk for heart disease. This is because excess cholesterol in the bloodstream causes fatty deposits—or plaque—to build up in your blood vessels, which impairs blood flow and can sometimes lead to the formation of blood clots that may cause a heart attack or stroke.
Not all cholesterol is bad, though. HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind) actually helps rid your body of excess cholesterol so it doesn’t build up in blood vessels and arteries. LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind), on the other hand, promotes the buildup of dangerous plaque.
The great news is that you can optimize your cholesterol levels with strategic dietary changes, including consuming more olive oil in the place of saturated fats and trans fats. Olive oil is predominantly composed of monounsaturated fats, and research has shown that monounsaturated fat-rich diets reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol.
One reason why: Monounsaturated fats seem to increase the number of LDL receptors on the liver, thereby allowing more LDL cholesterol to be picked up and removed from the bloodstream.
Extra virgin olive oil’s polyphenols may play a role, too. Some studies have demonstrated that polyphenols help prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing into an even more harmful form of cholesterol called oxidized LDL, thanks to polyphenols’ antioxidant properties.
Here are a few ways to incorporate olive oil into your diet today:
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