Do olives contain cholesterol? If you’ve ever asked yourself that question, well don’t worry! Olives contain no cholesterol. In fact, they really help us to regulate our cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease.
Among other beneficial compounds, olives contain polyphenols, which are substances that prevent the oxidation of LDL (‘bad cholesterol’) and its accumulation in the arteries. What’s more, olives help to maintain high levels of HDL cholesterol (‘good cholesterol’) in the blood.
‘Good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol
If we’re really going to understand the relationship between olives and cholesterol, first we have to explain what cholesterol is and why people use the terms ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance which our bodies need and is contained in all our cells. Our bodies use it to make hormones and bile acid, or to synthesize vitamin D. Some of it is produced in the liver and some is obtained from certain foods.
To reach all the organs via the bloodstream, cholesterol is attached to particles called lipoproteins. ‘Bad cholesterol’, or LDL, are low-density lipoproteins, which carry cholesterol to the tissues. When levels are high, they form fatty deposits which block up and narrow the arteries, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
On the other hand, ‘good cholesterol’ refers to HDL, high-density lipoproteins, which have a protective effect, as they pick up unused cholesterol from the tissues and transport it to the liver to be eliminated.
Olives help regulate cholesterol
People often question whether olives contain cholesterol because they’re a fruit which is rich in fatty acids. However, these are monounsaturated fats, mostly oleic acid or omega 9.
In other words, they’re ‘good’, high-quality fats which are recommended in a healthy diet, and which also help to regulate cholesterol levels, thus reducing the chances of developing cardiovascular disease.
For these reasons, olives are food with excellent nutritional quality, which protects our bodies, and that’s why olives make an ideal snack, even for little kids.
So, now you know olives don’t contain cholesterol and help us control cholesterol levels, you’ll enjoy them even more! Choose your favourites and try them as a starter or in your favourite salads or other dishes.