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There is a large body of clinical data to show that consumption of olive oil can provide heart health benefits such as favourable effects on cholesterol regulation and LDL cholesterol oxidation, and that it exerts anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic, antihypertensive as well as vasodilatory effects both in animals and in humans.Additionally, olive oil protects against heart disease as it controls the "bad" levels of LDL cholesterol and raises levels of the "good" cholesterol, HDL.
Another health benefit of olive oil seems to be its property to displace omega-6 fatty acids while not having any impact on omega-3 fatty acids. This is conditional on olive oil displacing foods that are richer in omega-6, which includes most vegetable oils, rather than foods which contain less omega-6, such as butter. This way, olive oil helps to build a more healthy balance between omega-6 fats and omega-3 fats.
Unlike saturated fats, olive oil lowers total cholesterol and LDL levels in the blood. It is also known to lower blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
Olive oil contains the monounsaturated fatty acid oleic acid antioxidants such as vitamin E and carotenoids, and oleuropein, a chemical that may help prevent the oxidation of LDL particles.
Olive oil contains a wide variety of valuable antioxidants that are not found in other oils. Hydroxytyrosol is thought to be the main antioxidant compound in olives, and believed to play a significant role in the many health benefits attributed to olive oil. Epidemiological studies suggest that olive oil has a protective effect against certain malignant tumours in the breast, prostate, endometrium and digestive tract. Research has revealed that the type rather than the quantity of fat seems to have more implications for cancer incidence.
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