If your doctor has raised concerns about your cholesterol, they probably also recommended foods to enjoy and foods to stay away from. Oil, in particular, is often talked about with regard to people with high cholesterol.
What oil should you eat? What oil should you stay away from? Should you even consume oil at all? These are all valid questions when it comes to eating and treating your high cholesterol.
The bases of all oils are monosaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) – in other words, healthy dietary fats. By eliminating saturated and trans fats from your diet, and substituting it with MUFAs, you can experience better overall health. The benefit of MUFAs extends to improved heart health, lowered cholesterol, and additional benefits to blood sugar levels, so they are helpful for diabetics.
Although oil, in general, can help improve your cholesterol, there is one type in particular that stands out from the rest.
Corn Oil vs. Olive Oil: Which is Best for Cholesterol?
Up until now, olive oil was thought to be the best choice when it came to your cholesterol, but a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology now suggests that corn oil may offer more cholesterol benefits.
Olive oil vs. Corn Oil: Cholesterol Lowering Ability
The study consisted of randomized, double-blind, controlled crossover clinical trials. Researchers aimed to observe the effects that dietary oil had on cholesterol. By comparing the effects of corn oil and olive oil on cholesterol, researchers were able to determine which oil reigned supreme.
The participants, 54 men and women, consumed meals cooked in corn oil or olive oil. The group which consumed the corn oil saw drops in their LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) by 10.9 percent in comparison to the olive oil group which was 3.5 percent. Total cholesterol in the corn oil group saw drops of 8.2 percent compared to 1.8 percent in the olive oil group. These results were based on four tablespoons of oil which is recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Olive Oil vs. Corn Oil: Effect on Blood Pressure
There is mounting evidence that different types of oil can affect blood pressure and heart rate. Diastolic blood pressure was shown to be reduced in those in the olive group of participants. Researchers believe that olive oil may affect how the blood vessels are functioning.
Olive oil has also been found to reduce the resting heart rate in beats per minute. This was compared to corn oil which was shown to actually increase resting heart rate. Researchers believe the lowering blood pressure effect of olive oil is due to its oleic acid content compared to corn oil which is quite low in oleic acid. This could also explain why participants who consumed the olive oil had a reduction in heart rate as well.
Cholesterol Benefits of Corn Oil
Although olive oil can improve cholesterol, when it comes to more dramatic drops in numbers, it’s better to opt for corn oil.
But why exactly is corn oil the better option? Well, corn oil contains polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) which are beneficial in reducing the risk of heart disease. Furthermore, corn oil contains plant sterols which have been shown to reduce cholesterol. In comparison to olive oil, corn oil has four times more plant sterols.
Both oils have some favorable effects, so many health experts agree that a variety of oils should be consumed. It is important to remember that olive oil has many positive health effects as well as corn oil, so adding both into a daily diet can offer a variety of health benefits.
Unsaturated plant oils should equal about 20 to 35% of your daily calories and come from healthy fats. This is a much healthier diet pattern than a diet high in saturated fats or even a strict low-fat diet. By adding a variety of plant oil into a daily diet will help to ensure you get a mixture of beneficial nutrients.
Managing Your Cholesterol
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 73.5 million Americans currently have high cholesterol. Worse yet, only one in three of these individuals have their cholesterol under control. High cholesterol is a dangerous health threat and can greatly affect your heart. Managing your cholesterol is vital for good health.
Enjoying a heart-friendly diet with corn oil is an easy way to manage your cholesterol. Corn oil can easily be used for cooking and even dressing vegetables and salad. But make sure you are following the dietary guidelines as oil is high in calories, so monitoring your intake is also beneficial.
Lifestyle Changes to Manage Cholesterol
Eat Heart-Healthy Foods
Just a few changes to your daily diet could make a big difference in your cholesterol. By reducing saturated fats and eliminating trans fats, you can greatly lower your cholesterol.
Go a Little Nutty
Research shows how eating 1 ½ to 3 ½ servings of nuts at least five times a week could significantly decrease both total cholesterol and LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Next time you are looking for a snack, try a handful of nuts. They will leave you feeling fuller and more satisfied longer than processed foods.
Quitting smoking can greatly improve HDL cholesterol levels, along with having many other health benefits. Within only 20 minutes of quitting, blood pressure and heart rate can recover from the cigarette-induced spike. Within three months of quitting, blood circulation and lung function begin to improve, and after one year, the risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker.
Fill Up on Fibre
Increasing soluble fibre can help to reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the bloodstream. Try adding some foods that are high fibre to a daily diet. Some good sources of soluble fibre include oatmeal, Brussels sprouts, apples, kidney beans, and pears.
Carrying extra weight can easily contribute to high cholesterol. Small changes to a diet can add up, so those who have a few extra pounds should try and cut out items such as sugary drinks, junk food, and processed foods.
If you’ve been struggling with managing your cholesterol, it may be the right time to switch up your oils. And don’t forget to keep eating fruits and vegetables – plant sterols are found among these foods as well. Taking in as much as you can will help your cholesterol even more. Here’s to good eating!