Scientific studies have concluded that olive oil can be particularly effective in the case of high cholesterol. In many countries, other plant oils are being replaced with olive oil and being introduced to daily eating habits. In this way it can also be explained, that Mediterranean populations have a considerably lower rate of heart attacks than northern nations. Cholesterol values in these southern countries are also noticeably lower than in northern European populations. So-called “bad” cholesterol, namely LDL-cholesterol, is reduced by olive oil, while the “good” HDL-cholesterol is raised. This is very effective in the prevention of deposits within the blood vessels.
Olive oil has 9 kcal per gramme and despite its high monounsaturated fat content (up to 80%), contains practically no cholesterol, while also boasting 12 milligrammes per 100gr of the important antioxidant Vitamin E.
In the case of higher cholesterol levels, olive oil reigns as the oil of choice. In particular, the concentrated presence of monounsaturated fats can effectively lower cholesterol. Seed oils such as sunflower oil and thistle oil, on the other hand, feature polyunsaturated fats while animal fats are full of saturated fats. In relation to one’s cholesterol levels, researchers were sure for a long time that saturated fats such as butter, lard, sausage, fatty meat and fat-rich cheese led to heightened increase, while polyunsaturated fats reduced these. This holds true today, in principle, yet it has also become clear now that polyunsaturated fats lower cholesterol levels as a whole. It is therefore not just the “bad” LDL-cholesterol that is affected, but also the “good” and highly advantageous HDL-cholesterol. The monounsaturated fats in olive oil only cause LDL cholesterol to subside, that is, the type of cholesterol that is responsible for deposits in the blood vessels. HDL cholesterol, which is conducive to the removal of the detrimental vessel deposits, remains unchanged. A Study on the Mediterranean Diet by George Dawson attests to this.
In contrast to other plant oils, olive oil features phenol components and other secondary phytic substances responsible for the flavour and scent of olive oil. Many of these compounds have positive effects on one’s health and well-being.