Myth #: Cholesterol Is Cholesterol
While cholesterol is an actual molecule, what it is bound to, while it’s floating through your blood is what’s more important – than just how much of it there is overall. In fact, depending on what it’s combined with can have opposite effects on your arteries and heart. Yes, opposite!
So cholesterol is just one component of a compound that floats around your blood. These compounds contain cholesterol as well as fats and special proteins called lipoproteins.
They’re grouped into two main categories:
- HDL: High Density Lipoprotein that cleans up some of those infamous arterial plaques and transports cholesterol back to the liver.
- LDL: Low Density Lipoprotein that transports cholesterol from the liver .
And yes, it is even more complicated than this. Each of these categories is further broken down into subcategories which can also be measured in a blood test.
So cholesterol isn’t simply cholesterol because it has very different effects on your body depending on which other molecules it’s bound to in your blood, as well as their size and type and what it is actually doing there.
Triglycerides And Your Body
The fat in your body circulates in the blood as triglycerides, which enter your body in the form of calories from the food you eat. The calories that are not used immediately are converted to triglycerides and then transported to your fat cells for storage. As your body needs additional energy, hormones release triglycerides from the fat cells for use. Triglycerides become elevated when you consume more calories than you can burn or when you have a health problem such as untreated diabetes. According to the the National Cholesterol Education Program, a normal triglyceride level is under 150 milligrams per deciliter. The American Heart Association recommends a level under 100 milligrams per deciliter, which the AHA considers the “optimal” level associated with a healthy heart.
Blood Sampling And Biochemical Determinations
Blood for plasma lipid and lipoprotein determinations was drawn from fasting patients at 0, 3, 6 and 9 mo. Blood was collected by venipuncture into EDTA-containing vacutainer tubes. Samples were kept on ice before centrifugation at 1700 × g for 15 min at 4°C to obtain plasma.
Plasma total cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations were measured by enzymatic colorimetric methods using commercial kits . Serum HDL cholesterol was determined in the supernatant after precipitation with phosphotungstic acid and magnesium chloride as described . LDL cholesterol was calculated according to .
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Protect Yourself: How To Increase Your Hdl Cholesterol
High-density lipoprotein is often referred to as the good cholesterol.
Having high HDL levels helps transport cholesterol from your arteries to your liver, where it can be used or excreted. In addition increased levels of HDL have both and antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefit.
When it comes to cholesterol, its mostly about the numbers. While genetics definitely play a role, there are several other factors that affect HDL levels
The combination of low LDL bad cholesterol and trying to increase HDL good cholesterol is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease
Here are five healthy ways to raise your good HDL cholesterol.
Eat olive oil
Singh Snapshot: Extra virgin olive oil with a high polyphenol content has been shown to increase HDL levels in healthy people, the elderly and individuals with high cholesterol.
Stub out smoking
Olive Oil Benefits Your Health
Fat is important in your diet. You need fat for energy and to develop and maintain your cells. This nutrient also helps your body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E and K. Also, your body needs fat for blood clotting and muscle contractions as well as for fighting inflammation, says Harvard Health.
The fat in extra virgin olive oil consists mostly of healthy unsaturated fatty acids, primarily monounsaturated fats, such as oleic acid. One tablespoon contains 9.8 grams of monounsaturated fat and 1.4 grams of polyunsaturated fat, according to the USDA. Of the monounsaturated fatty acids, 55 to 83 percent is oleic acid.
Monounsaturated fats have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and olive oil contains about 75 percent by volume, according to Harvard Health. When substituted for saturated fat, monounsaturated fats may help improve blood cholesterol levels by reducing LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol levels.
Read more:Does Olive Oil Make You Fat?
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Tactics To Reduce Cholesterol Quickly
For most of us, there’s really no need to pack our medicine cabinets with pills to reduce cholesterol levels. Natural, lifestyle-based strategies have proven extraordinarily effective in reducing cholesterol quickly and permanently.
Get the top 5 food and fitness tips recommended by the doctors, dietitians, exercise experts, and other faculty at the Pritikin Longevity Center. Pritikin has been helping people lower cholesterol levels since 1975.
Did you know that for every 10% drop in your cholesterol level, your heart attack risk drops by 20% to 30%? Theres more good news: Most of us can reduce cholesterol quickly, and without the need for medications. Simple lifestyle strategies can be very powerful.
Thats what several studies on thousands following the Pritikin Program of diet and exercise have found. Within three weeks, people were able to lower their cholesterol levels on average 23%, which translates into a 46% to 69% drop in heart attack risk.1
How Much Should You Consume
Extra virgin olive oil is heavily marketed for its ability to ward off heart disease. This may be largely due to the proven health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, in which olive oil is a key component. According to a clinical review published in Circulation Research in February 2019, evidence supports the association of the Mediterranean diet with better cardiovascular health outcomes, including reduced coronary heart disease and ischemic stroke rates.
However, that doesn’t mean that olive oil alone is a magical potion that you should drizzle over your salad with abandon or gulp down by the mouthful. Like other fats, it’s high in calories. Consuming too much olive oil can result in excess calories, with each tablespoon providing 119 calories. If you are on a calorie-restricted diet, moderating your intake of olive oil could prevent unwanted weight gain.
Olive oil calories come from fat. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that 20 to 35 percent of your total calories should come from fat if you eat 2,000 calories a day. That equals about 40 to 70 grams per day. Since one tablespoon of olive oil provides 13.5 grams of total fat, consuming four tablespoons a day would rack up 54 grams, which accounts for a large portion of your allotment, even if you cut out all other sources of fat in your diet.
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Effect Of Olive Oil On Oxidative Parameters
An increased resistance of LDL to oxidation is reported in 5/6 studies, a decrease in LDL oxidation rate is found in 3/4 studies, and the detection of antibodies against oxLDL was also decreased by intervention with olive oil . However, no correlation between polyphenol content and the resistance of LDL to oxidation was found. These data suggest that a moderate polyphenol content may be sufficient to protect LDL from oxidation. Further evidence for this is reflected by the decrease of hydroxyl fatty acids and the Lipoprotein lipase gene expression, which increased significantly after a high polyphenol olive oil intervention , suggesting a direct effect of polyphenols to the transcription of lipid enzyme regulation. These data further verify our network meta-analysis of oxLDL, presented above, which indicates that the major impact on oxLDL is the adherence to the Mediterranean diet, further suggesting that many of the olive oil-attributed benefits might be related to other microconstituents of elements of this diet, in addition to olive oil polyphenols.
Table 2. Percentage changes in the oxidative parameters related to the LDL oxidation after treatment with olive oil with different phenolic content .
Table 3. Percentage changes in the Parameters of the oxidative stress and oxidative damage of DNA& RNA after Treatment with Olive Oil with different phenolic content.
How Can I Get All The Benefits Of Polyphenols
Making extra virgin olive oil a key part of your daily diet is a powerful way to expose your body to all the nutritional benefits found in polyphenols, decreasing your levels of bad cholesterol while increasing the good levels. By consuming extra virgin olive oil daily, youll effectively move excess cholesterol out of your arteries and liver.
Other ways to naturally reduce bad cholesterol in your body include following a healthy diet, reducing alcohol consumption, not smoking, and exercising at least three times a week. Maintaining a healthy weight is also key.
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Combine Oil With Antioxidants To Be Safe
Vogel’s own research, in fact, has shown that when olive oil is combined with foods rich in antioxidants, such as vegetables, the vessel-constricting effect disappears. All you have to do is combine olive oil with red wine vinegar, which is loaded with the same antioxidants found in wine, and it appears you can prevent the deleterious effect on blood vessels.
So was the uproar over olive oil a false alarm? Only time will tell. First, the results of Vogel’s small study must be duplicated by other researchers. Keep in mind, his findings were presented at a meeting and haven’t yet been published. Then, if the effect on blood vessels is firmly linked to greater risk of heart disease, there may well be a reason to steer clear of olive oil.
For now, if you are the worrying type, make sure you drizzle your olive oil over leafy greens and vegetables — or in pasta with a lot of tomatoes and basil. And avoid sopping your bread with the olive oil served at trendy Italian restaurants these days.
Remember, to study the effects of certain foods or nutrients, researchers must isolate them from the rest of the diet. But most of us don’t eat meals consisting of a single food. To play it safe, just make sure your diet is abundant in fruits and vegetables, which have clearly been found to lower heart disease risk.
Cut Out The Trans Fatty Acids
Trans fatty acids are likely present in many of your favorite prepared foods anything in which the nutrition label reads “partially hydrogenated vegetable oils” so eliminating them from the diet is not a trivial task. But trans fatty acids not only increase LDL cholesterol levels, but they also reduce HDL cholesterol levels. Removing them from your diet will almost certainly result in a measurable increase in HDL levels.
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If Lifestyle Changes Arent Enough
Take medications, if you need to, to lower your cholesterol into healthy ranges. Drugs like statins can be very effective, says Dr. Danine Fruge, MD, ABFP – Medical Director at the Pritikin Longevity Center, but do continue in your efforts to eat well and exercise because a healthy lifestyle can give you far, far more than drugs alone.
With a healthy living program like Pritikin, youre not only reducing cholesterol quickly, youre also creating changes throughout your body that can profoundly improve your overall well-being. Youre reducing blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Other heart disease risk factors like triglyceride fats are also dropping dramatically. Youre also reducing inflammatory factors that sicken arteries. Youre shedding excess weight. And, quite simply, youre feeling better, much better. Many of our guests at Pritikin tell us, I had no idea I could feel this good again.
Can any pill or combination of pills do all of the above? I highly doubt it. But a healthy lifestyle like Pritikin can.
Olive Oil Is Not Associated With Weight Gain And Obesity
Eating excessive amounts of fat causes weight gain.
However, numerous studies have linked the Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil, with favorable effects on body weight (
In this study, a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by over 40%.
SummaryBoth observational studies and clinical trials suggest that olive oil, combined with a Mediterranean diet, can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.
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Will Olive Oil Raise Cholesterol
Recently at the office we had an inquiry about a diet that says to eat one tablespoon of light olive oil twice a day, before meals. The individual was worried it would raise his cholesterol and asked for advice.
First, the good news: Like any type of dietary fat, olive oil is a mix of saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids but olive oil contains 77 percent monounsaturated fat.
The only other type of oil typically consumed in the United States that comes close is canola oil with 62 percent monounsaturated fat. Thats important because monounsaturated fat has been associated with decreasing bad cholesterol low-density lipoproteins, or LDLs and increasing good cholesterol high-density lipoproteins, or HDLs. So, as far as fats go, olive oil is a good choice.But all fats, olive oil included, contain 14 grams of fat and about 120 calories per tablespoon. The light in extra light or light olive oil refers to its color and flavor, not its fat or calorie content.
Consuming two tablespoons of fat each day in addition to meals could easily increase your calorie consumption by about 240 calories a day. If you consume, over time, 3,500 calories more than you expend, youll gain a pound. So, unless you restrict other calories throughout the day, that oil could actually cause you to gain a pound every two weeks or so.
Nearly Triple The Risk Of Heart Problems
In fact, in a recent study, Dr. Borge Nordestgaard at the University of Copenhagen demonstrated just how dangerous cholesterol remnants like chylomicrons can be. He and colleagues followed nearly 12,000 people in Denmark who had established coronary heart disease, diagnosed between 1976 and 2010. The scientists found that each 1 mmol increase in nonfasting remnant cholesterol caused a nearly 3-fold greater risk of a coronary heart disease event.
Bottom Line: More research is needed to better elucidate the mechanism by which dietary fat promotes inflammation and may increase the risk of cardiovascular events, counsels Gomer.
However, it may be time to question the wisdom of promoting diets with 20 to 35% fat or more for people with cardiovascular disease and/or type 2 diabetes. Diets this high in fat appear to greatly increase both acute and chronic lowgrade inflammation in the body. Increasingly, inflammation is being linked to not only more cardiovascular disease but also insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
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Interpreting Hdl Cholesterol Levels
HDL levels below 40 mg/dL are associated with an increased risk of CAD, even in people whose total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels are normal. HDL levels between 40 and 60 mg/dL are considered “normal,” and do not very much affect the risk of CAD one way or the other. However, HDL levels greater than 60 mg/dL are actually associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
In other words, the dogma has been: the higher the HDL levels, the better.
While this belief is still thought to be almost always true, in recent years a fly has been found in the ointment. Drug companies have spent billions of dollars developing drugs that increase HDL cholesterol levels. However, to the dismay of all, these drugs have failed to reduce cardiac riskdespite the fact that they make HDL levels go up. Development of at least two of these drugs has now been halted. So the HDL story is more complex than scientists originally had hoped.
Olive Oil For Blood Pressure
A small August 2012 study published in the A_merican Journal of Hypertension_ found that a key part of the olive oil nutrition profile involves antioxidant compounds called polyphenols, which can lower blood pressure. While the study had only 24 participants, it was a double-blind, randomized, crossover clinical trial, which is considered the gold standard in research.
The scientists compared the effects of consuming polyphenol-rich olive oil with polyphenol-free olive oil. Results showed that the polyphenol-rich variety reduced blood pressure and improved the function of the lining of blood vessels in women with mild hypertension.
Although a February 2014 study featured in theProceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences dealt with rats, the interesting results are worth mentioning because they show what happens when the oil is eaten with healthy foods.
The researchers discovered that consumption of the monounsaturated fat in extra virgin olive oil with vegetables plentiful in nitrogen compounds generated nitro fatty acids. These acids lower blood pressure. The authors stated that following a vegetable-rich Mediterranean diet augmented with extra virgin olive oil can offer protection from high blood pressure.
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Is All Cholesterol The Same
No. In a nutshell, you get good cholesterol and you get bad cholesterol. Bad cholesterol, or LDL, causes lipids or fats to stick to your artery walls. On the other side of the health fence, good cholesterol, otherwise known as HDL, is great for your well-being – and thats what you should care about when buying olive oils.