Olive Oil & Cholesterol

In the last decade the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) has risen sharply and if global statistics are to be believed, NCDs will be responsible for a significant increase in total number of deaths over the next few years .

Attributable to demographic, epidemiological and nutritional transitions, the four major NCDS which are highly prevalent in the Indian context are cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cancer.

Link between NCDs and Metabolic Health

Metabolic health refers to the basal metabolism rate (BMR) of an individual. People with high BMR are more likely to enjoy better metabolic health. Poor metabolic health is directly associated with an increased risk of falling prey to NCDs. In this context, Metabolic Syndrome (MS) is a complex web of metabolic factors that are associated with the two-fold risk of getting CVDs and a five-fold risk of diabetes.

How to Know If You Have A Low Metabolism:

According to the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute (2), causes of metabolic syndrome include the following:

  • A larger than normal waistline. Ideally, waistline should not be more than 35 inches for women, and 40 inches for men. Accumulated fat in the waist area plays a great role in causing heart diseases
  • High triglyceride level in your blood
  • Low HDL cholesterol level, also known as good cholesterol, which is responsible for removing cholesterol from the arteries. Low levels of this cholesterol also increases the risk of developing heart diseases
  • High blood pressure, which is damaging for your heart, leading to build-up of plaque as well
  • High blood sugar levels, especially in fasting phase

Linking Diet with NCDs and Metabolic Health

Doctors say that metabolic health is strongly linked to the type of fat intake. Diets rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) have been associated with improved glycemic control and plasma lipid controls, increased insulin sensitivity in diabetic patients and better cardiovascular health.

In Mediterranean diets, olive oil is a key component and source of fats, especially MUFA. Olive oil has around 75 percent MUFA with oleic acid being the primary MUFA. In fact, recent researches have revealed the effectiveness of olive oil in improving metabolic health.

Olive Oil Controls Blood Sugar

Low-fat diet is proved to prevent heart diseases, diabetes and many other related diseases. The MUFA in olive oil protects the human body from a number of chronic diseases. It reduces the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes by as much as 50%, which ultimately leads to improved metabolic health.

Olive Oil Keeps Your Weight & Waistline Under Check

Olive oil is laden with antioxidants, such as Vitamin E and polyphenols, both of which are effective in fighting against free radicals in the blood, not to forget high amounts of MUFA which is related to lower LDLs and higher HDLs. Taking olive oil on a regular basis also acts as a laxative, as it allows food to move through your body faster, thus allowing fewer calories to get absorbed by your system. In this way, olive oil improves your metabolic health, and also helps you look slimmer and lose weight.

Olive Oil Affects HDL & LDL Levels

Studies have revealed that people consuming olive oil on a regular basis have lower incidences of heart diseases, and lower LDL levels. It also reduces oxidation of LDL, which is more damaging to your arterial wall than the LDL itself. In addition to this, consumption of olive oil may also increase HDL levels in your body, which can prove to be highly beneficial for your heart’s health. Choose the olive oil which has high phenol content, as it would be more effective in increasing HDL than oil with lower phenols.

If you are concerned about your metabolic health, and want to gain the benefits of having a healthy metabolism, then including olive oil in your regular diet is the best thing you can do. By improving your metabolic health through consumption of olive oil, you could enjoy your life in a better and healthier way; and for much longer.