With elevated cholesterol, olive oil is considered the oil of choice. In particular, the abundant monounsaturated fatty acids can effectively lower cholesterol. Unlike other vegetable oils, olive oil contains phenolic components and other phytonutrients that are responsible for the unique taste and fragrance of olive oil. Many of these compounds have beneficial effects on health.
Health promoting oleuropein
One of these health promoting substances is phenol oleuropein, which has powerful antioxidant effects. The phenolic compound oleuropein from olive oil has a high antioxidant effect and protects against myocardial infarction, says Katrin Raschke, graduate oecotrophologist at the German Institute of Nutritional Medicine and Dietetics (DIET). One kilogram of extra virgin olive oil contains 50 to 800 milligrams of phenolic substances, which partly support each other in their effect. However, oleuropein and other impurities are found only in virgin olive oil, not in refined products.
However, as good as olive oil is, it should not be taken in addition to the normal diet. Recommendations to swallow a tablespoon of it daily are nonsense, emphasizes Raschke. When it comes to fat, the minimum solution is always needed, because every fat is a calorie bomb. DIET's nutrition experts advise using olive oil in exchange for other fats, such as frying fat, salad oil or special margarine.
Antioxidants against free radicals
Antioxidants protect against damage from aggressive free radicals, the oxidative stress. Oxidative stress contributes significantly to the development of coronary heart disease, as it damages blood vessels and alters LDL particles. Especially this oxidized LDL cholesterol is suspected to trigger arteriosclerosis. Oleuropein protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation in studies. In addition, oleuropein inhibits the formation of pro-inflammatory substances and the formation of blood clots.
Polyphenols are important components of the plant and protect it from environmental stress. They are found mainly in plants that are exposed to heavy loads, such as sunlight. Due to the high phenol content, olive oil is much more stable against oxidation than other oils.
If you do not like olive oil, you can also use rapeseed oil. Although rapeseed oil lacks the rich secondary ingredients of olive oil, it has a similar favorable fatty acid composition. As a spread fat and phytosterol-containing margarine is recommended, which can lower the cholesterol level.