Olive oil is a more healthful choice than many other cooking fats due to the fact that it is a monounsaturated, or “good,” fat. Consuming monounsaturated fat in place of saturated fat has been shown to help lower the bad LDL cholesterol and raise the good HDL cholesterol. The FDA agrees and approved a qualified heart health claim for olive oil in 2004.
Extra virgin or virgin olive oils offer additional health benefits because they are naturally extracted and retain an abundance of vitamins and polyphenols that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. A recent study from Spain found that participants with the highest olive oil consumption as a proportion of total calories had a 26-percent-lower mortality rate from all causes and were 44 percent less likely to die from heart disease.