Olive Oil Protects Against Dangerous LDL Cholesterol
While many are familiar with LDL cholesterol as “bad” cholesterol, it is even more dangerous to the body when it becomes oxidized. LDL becomes oxidized when it reacts with free radicals. Then oxidized LDL in turn becomes more reactive with the surrounding tissues, which can cause damage to them. One of the problems resulting from oxidized LDL is that it can cause the arteries which supply blood to the organs and tissue to become inflamed, thus increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Factors that can increase oxidized LDL Levels:
- A diet high in trans fats
- Poorly controlled diabetes
- Metabolic syndrome
The Benefits of Olive Oil
In Mediterranean countries where olive trees are grown, olives and olive oil have been used for medicinal purposes to treat various health conditions including malaria, infections and cardiovascular disease, and in addition to uses as food, olives and olive oil are consumed to promote overall health and wellness.
Clinical studies have shown that the typical Mediterranean diet which is rich in olive oil, fruits, vegetables and grains corresponds to a low risk of coronary heart disease. It is likely that the antioxidants that are found in olive trees may be a key component in the prevention of cardiovascular disease as they help to prevent LDL oxidation.
New research has found that there is a direct correlation between the polyphenol content in olive oil and the amount of oxidized LDL cholesterol. It has also been determined that olive oil polyphenols promote the development of OxLDL autoantibodies. The autoantibodies increase in proportion to the polyphenol content of the olive oil. Therefore olive oil can be an important part of the diet by playing a role in preventing and limiting the oxidation of LDL.