Quality extra virgin olive oil lowers cholesterol

Did you know? EVOO phenols possess antioxidant and hypocholesterolemic properties. 

It has long been known that extra virgin olive oil is a beneficial element for our health. We also talked about it in our article concerning, among other things, the nutraceutical properties of EVO oil.

Support for the thesis comes out day after day: recently new scientific works have once again underlined how important it is to use EVOO in our diet, for example to control cholesterol levels in the blood. A recent study by the University of Milan highlighted the important cholesterol-lowering properties of quality extra virgin olive oils.

What does it mean that extra virgin olive oil “lowers cholesterol”?

It means that if we eat the right amount of quality EVO oil every day, containing a high presence of polyphenols, we stimulate the reduction of “bad” cholesterol, the famous LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins).

What is the right amount of extra virgin olive oil per day? About 20 g per day according to EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), which has certified the beneficial effects of olive oil containing at least 5 mg of hydroxytyrosol and its derivatives (such as oleuropein and tyrosol), powerful antioxidants.

In a further study by the University of Barcelona, 200 volunteers were examined who took quality extra virgin olive oils, with high (> 350 mg / kg) or low (2.7 mg / kg) polyphenol levels. In the study, subjects who took EVO oils with high levels of polyphenols had an increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL, the so-called “good cholesterol”), a decrease in triglyceride levels and a reduction in oxidative stress.

Here another question arises: Why is it important to keep HDL cholesterol levels high and lower LDL cholesterol levels? It should be known that till now we know 4 classes of proteins which carry cholesterol in our blood:

  • HDL (high density lipoprotein)
  • LDL (low density lipoprotein)
  • VLDL (very low density lipoprotein)
  • IDL (intermediate density lipoprotein)

LDL and HDL are the two best known lipoproteins.

LDL represents “bad” cholesterol: if it is in excess, it accumulates in the endothelium of veins and arteries, for example, increasing the risk of ischemia and heart attack.

HDL, or good cholesterol, on the other hand, is useful for maintaining the right balance of cholesterol in the blood and eliminating excess cholesterol. Cholesterol, in fact, is an essential molecule in our body: it is a crucial component of cell membranes and a precursor of some hormones and vitamins that are very important for our body (such as vitamin D or cortisol).

Once again science helps us to understand how important it is to consume quality extra virgin olive oil: not only for our palate and for the environment but also for our health.