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.
Why Olive Oil Is So Good For The Heart
All cholesterol is not equal. It comes in healthy and unhealthy forms, and doctors have long advised people to cut back on the bad cholesterol, LDL, found in red meats and fried foods. The good kind, HDL, pulls out the LDL that builds up on blood vessel walls and raises risk for a heart attack. Upping levels of HDL may therefore protect the heart from damage.
Thats the theory, but studies looking at HDL levels and heart disease events havent always shown that higher HDL levels lead to lower risk of disease. Scientists may finally know why. In a new study of nearly 300 people at high risk of heart disease, published in the journal Circulation, researchers found that just having high levels of HDL may not be enough to make a heart healthy. But the Mediterranean diet may help HDL to work more effectively.
The people in the yearlong study were randomly assigned to eat either a low-fat diet with little red meat and plenty of fruits and vegetables, or one of two versions of the Mediterranean diet: one enriched with olive oil and the other with nuts. After the year, the researchers compared the blood cholesterol levels of the participants to their starting levels. They found that only the people who ate the low-fat, non-Mediterranean diet lowered their total and LDL cholesterol levels, but that the people eating the two Mediterranean diets had better-working HDL.
Estimation Of Ldl Particles Via Cholesterol Content
Chemical measures of lipid concentration have long been the most-used clinical measurement, not because they have the best correlation with individual outcome, but because these lab methods are less expensive and more widely available.
The lipid profile does not measure LDL particles. It only estimates them using the Friedewald equationby subtracting the amount of cholesterol associated with other particles, such as HDL and VLDL, assuming a prolonged fasting state, etc.:
- L T
- where H is HDL cholesterol, L is LDL cholesterol, C is total cholesterol, T are triglycerides, and k is 0.20 if the quantities are measured in mg/dl and 0.45 if in mmol/l.
There are limitations to this method, most notably that samples must be obtained after a 12 to 14 h fast and that LDL-C cannot be calculated if plasma triglyceride is > 4.52 mmol/L . Even at triglyceride levels 2.5 to 4.5 mmol/L, this formula is considered inaccurate. If both total cholesterol and triglyceride levels are elevated then a modified formula, with quantities in mg/dl, may be used
- L T
This formula provides an approximation with fair accuracy for most people, assuming the blood was drawn after fasting for about 14 hours or longer, but does not reveal the actual LDL particle concentration because the percentage of fat molecules within the LDL particles which are cholesterol varies, as much as 8:1 variation.
Recommended Reading: Tahini Cholesterol
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 Also: Does Tuna Have Good Or Bad Cholesterol
Why A Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil Can Help You Tackle Ldl Cholesterol
If you are looking to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol in your arteries and arm yourself against heart disease, including a quality olive oil in your diet is a great place to start. By substituting saturated fats for healthier unsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats you are contributing to a reduced risk of the health complications caused by high levels of LDL cholesterol.
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Olive Oil In Cooking And Smoke Point
When using oil for cooking, it is important to keep the heat level in mind. The smoke point is the temperature at which the oil begins to break down, become carcinogenic, and release smoke into the air. In other words, it is when the oil starts to burn.
If oil starts to burn or catch fire, a person should throw it away and start again.
The say that the following oils are relatively healthful for cooking and preparing food:
Make Sure To Get The Right Type
Buying the right kind of olive oil is extremely important.
Extra virgin olive oil retains some of the antioxidants and bioactive compounds from olives. For this reason, its considered healthier than the more refined variety of olive oil.
Even so, there is a lot of fraud on the olive oil market, as many oils that read extra virgin on the label have been diluted with other refined oils.
Therefore, examine labels carefully to ensure youre getting real extra virgin olive oil. Its always a good idea to read ingredients lists and check for quality certification.
Recommended Reading: Mayo Cholesterol
Other Tips For Lowering Cholesterol
Substituting olive oil is not the only thing that you can do to lower your LDL cholesterol. If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels, then reducing your consumption of meat and dairy products will go a long way toward helping with that. Try lower fat dairy products and plant-based alternatives that are lower in cholesterol. If you have increased your intake of dairy products due to their health benefits, then try substituting in some whey protein, which offers many of the same health benefits but also works to lower cholesterol.
Eating soluble fiber can also regulate how much cholesterol is absorbed into your bloodstream. This fiber is found in foods including apples, pears, Brussels sprouts, kidney beans and oatmeal. By incorporating soluble fiber into your diet, you will help reduce the amount of cholesterol that gets into your blood.
While trans fats are currently being phased out of the market, you still need to keep an eye out for them and carefully read labels of any packaged foods you eat. If they contain partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oils, then they will contain trans fats as well, and you should opt for another food item that does not have these oils in it. They are not the same as healthy oils such as olive oil, which are not heavily processed so that their molecular structures are altered.
Does Olive Oil Raise Cholesterol
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Also Check: Triglyceride Diet Mayo Clinic
Olive Oil And Cholesterol Your Questions Answered
In the title of this article, we use two terms that seem to go hand in hand, those of olive oil and cholesterol. But, as you will see from this article, olive oil and cholesterol are linked but only in that olive oil destroys bad cholesterol and increases levels of good cholesterol. But, first of all, we should define what cholesterol is. So lets begin:
What is cholesterol? What do we mean by good and bad cholesterol? What can happen to your health if you suffer from high levels of cholesterol? Is extra virgin olive oil good for reducing cholesterol? Is it better than other types of oil? What habits should you change to have a correct level of cholesterol? If you are interested in the answers to all of these questions, continue reading because we are going to answer all of them.
Truth: All Plant Foods Are Rich In Polyphenols And Plant Sterols And Most Deliver Far More Polyphenols And Plant Sterols Than Does Olive Oil
Polyphenols are antioxidant plant compounds that are linked with better heart health, including less oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a process that inflames the arteries and heightens the risk of plaque rupture and heart attacks. Plant sterols are another plant chemical that interferes with cholesterol absorption from the gut and helps lower LDL cholesterol.
But the problem is: If youre relying on olive oil for your polyphenols and plant sterols, youve got to eat a lot more calories to get a decent amount of these phytochemicals, and eating lots of calories is just what Americans, with our epidemic rates of obesity, do not need.
A mere tablespoon of olive oil delivers a hefty 120 calories for a mere 30mg of polyphenols/plant sterols. By contrast, just 11 calories of green leafy lettuce gets you about the same amount of polyphenols/plant sterols.
This olive oil nutrition chart compares the nutrients in olive oil with the nutrients in green leafy lettuce.
And so much more. to open a chart comparing the nutrients in the same number of calories from green leafy lettuce and olive oil. Keep in mind, too, what mountains of research over the past several decades have told us. Consistently, the foods linked with healthier, longer, disease-free lives are foods rich in all kinds of nutrients vitamins, minerals, fiber, polyphenols, beta carotene, and so on. Yes, foods like leafy greens. Olive oil, by comparison, tallies up a whole lot of zeros.
Also Check: Hdl And Alcohol
How To Measure Changes In Heart Health
One of the big problems in trying to pin down particular factors that influence diseases like heart disease is that they take years, or decades, to develop and so it is difficult to do an experiment in which you give one group of people a food and deprive another group and measure the effects. Studies instead tend to be either looking for associations between health outcomes and certain habitual diets , or looking at things that change more quickly such as cholesterol levels which are themselves thought to be associated with disease.
However, a team at the University of Glasgow have developed a new way of measuring subtle changes in heart health that can happen over only a few weeks, by looking at changes in the patterns of proteins excreted in peoples urine: a technique known as proteomics. The changes they are measuring are of the disease itself, which they can pick up before there are any physical symptoms so it is far more accurate a method than measuring something that is just supposed to be associated with the disease, such as cholesterol levels.
Things You May Not Know About Olive Oil
Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats, which may help your heart
The United States does not have strict regulations about labeling a bottle “extra-virgin”
Olive oil beauty products are a multibillion dollar business
Nutritionists have long touted the heart-healthy benefits of extra-virgin olive oil.
Recently, researchers found that consuming a Mediterranean diet heavy in olive oil can help lower some heart risks. Consuming more than four tablespoons a day can significantly lower your risk of having a heart attack, suffering from a stroke or dying of heart disease, according to the recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Olive oil is high in a type of fat known as monounsaturated fat, according to the Mayo Clinic. MUFAs, as theyre commonly called, can help lower your cholesterol and control insulin levels in the body. In addition to olive oil, they can be found in avocados, nuts and fatty fish.
Of course, that doesnt mean you can go overboard. Even though its made of healthy fats, olive oil is still high in calories and should be used in moderation. Here are five things you might not know about this Mediterranean staple:
It helps more than your heart. Olive oil is full of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that helps protect your cells from damage. Certain polyphenols also have anti-inflammatory properties.
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What Are The Dangers Of High Ldl Levels
Having too much bad cholesterol in your body and bloodstream is dangerous – especially if your cholesterol levels are 240> .
Dangerously high cholesterol levels like this put you at risk of things like heart disease, heart attack, strokes, Angina , or even Arteriosclerosis .
So, we now know the difference between bad and good cholesterol. But – how can you make sure youre consuming and absorbing the latter?
Well, thats where extra virgin olive oil comes in, which is rich in something called monounsaturated fats. These work to naturally boost your good cholesterol levels in your body and bloodstream, while reducing the prevalence of bad cholesterol – found in foods with high amounts of saturated fat like meat and full dairy products.
Putting Olive Oil To Test 4 Reasons Why Cooking With It Is Actually Unhealthy
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We have all raved about the healthy extra-virgin olive oil. And why shouldnt we? After all, its a scrumptious health jackpot! Its high in heart-healthy antioxidants called polyphenols and monounsaturated fats. These help us lower bad LDL cholesterol and raise good HDL cholesterol levels. But, is olive oil the best choice when consumed in every form?
Well, maybe not! These 4 reasons shall make you re-examine olive oils choose for everything status:
1. Olive oils heart-healthy polyphenols might not sustain extreme heatThe phenolic compounds are a powerhouse of antioxidants. Although these antioxidant-rich phenols help sustain heart health, sustaining heat is not something they do as well.
Studies indicate that phenols and polyphenols in olive oil such as hydroxytyrosol or luteolin are unstable in heat and degrade into smoke relatively quickly. Its lower smoke point shall lead to breaking down of beneficial compounds and formation of potentially health-harming compounds. So, using olive oil for making french fries doesnt sound great now, does it?
2. Heating up olive oil shall destroy the healthy omega fatty acidsOlive oil is a rich source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. What are omega 3 fatty acids? According to the US National Library of Medicine, they are significant structural components of the cell membranes of tissues throughout the body found mainly in the retina, brain, and sperm.
Recommended Reading: Tuna Good For Cholesterol
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.
Read more:What Are the Health Benefits of Taking a Tablespoon of Olive Oil Daily?
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.
Read Also: Does Shrimp Have High Cholesterol
Strengths And Limitations Of This Study
The randomised trial design comparing three dietary fat interventions minimised confounding and bias.
There was good compliance and participants were from the general community in a real life setting.
Objective measures of outcomeblood biochemistry and anthropometrywere used, minimising bias.
Participants were not blinded as to the intervention, and the intervention was relatively short term over 4weeks.
Also Check: Ldl Cholesterol Effects
Olive Oil For Cardiovascular Disease
It’s reasonable to deduce that if olive oil is beneficial for blood pressure and cholesterol, it also has value for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, and this is supported by research.
A 2018 investigation featured in Endocrine, Metabolic & Immune Disorders Drug Targets states that numerous studies confirm that the Mediterranean diet has heart-protective properties. However, the research team discovered that the most relevant component of the diet that’s linked to prevention of heart disease is olive oil. The oil’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and blood vessel-dilation effects may decrease the risk of atherosclerosis, the depositing of clot-causing plaque in arteries.
In a May 2014 study published in BioMed Central Medicine, scientists explored the difference in the effects on cardiovascular risk of three dietary interventions: a low-fat diet, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts and a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil.
The results showed that approximately each tablespoon-sized increase of olive oil, especially the extra virgin variety, was associated with a 10-percent decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and a 7-percent reduced risk of death.