During the past few decades, many studies were carried out to understand the role of certain types of fat in increasing or decreasing blood cholesterol levels and their health implications, particularly the risk of developing heart disease, certain types of cancer and cognitive impairment. The large-scale mass media campaigns to promote low calorie food and other medications simply create the impression that cholesterol is something bad and should be reduced. But, there is an answer. Olive oil. Regardless of what you perceive from late-night commercials, cholesterol is extremely important for vital body functions like synthesis of hormones and production of bile acids, cell membranes and vitamin D. In fact, cholesterol is very crucial for our survival. The cholesterol levels mainly depend on the hormones of an individual. There are many controllable as well as uncontrollable factors that determine cholesterol build up. Eating behavior, physical activity, weight, stress and smoking are some of the controllable variables while we can hardly alter the factor like age and heredity.
There are basically two types of cholesterol. The low-density lipoproteins or LDLs are known as bad cholesterol because they get stuck to the artery walls causing arteriosclerosis. On the other hand, high-density lipoproteins or HDLs keep the arteries clean by carrying the LDLs to the liver where they are recycled. Therefore, the chances of arteriosclerosis and other heart complications are significantly reduced when the ratios of LDLs to HDLs are below the recommended reference level of less than 3. Unfortunately, all the factors that cause cholesterol to build up haven’t been explored yet, and the low-calorie food manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies present a distorted view in the media that all cholesterol is bad. These companies enjoy a very thriving business by promoting the fear of fat. Therefore, we are living in a society that harbors raging fear against fat. There is no denying of the fact that excessive consumption of dietary fat increase cholesterol levels, but it cannot be taken as valid justification for supporting extreme view that all dietary fat must be avoided. There is no need to become a victim of cholesterol neurotics. In fact, suffering from hysteria of any kind is extremely bad for health. The modern research has proven that fatty acids like omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 are very good for health, and they recommend oils that serve as a very rich source of these fatty acids. In fact, oils like Spanish extra virgin olive oil are known for its medicinal values and completely rejuvenating effects. So, more research is needed to resolve the issue and find out whether dietary fat is really bad for good health.