Harvard Men's Health Watch

Is extra-virgin olive oil extra healthy?

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Q. Is extra-virgin olive oil more heart-healthy than regular olive oil?

A. Recent studies have confirmed the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, which cuts the risk of heart disease. The diet's nutritional benefits probably come from a variety of sources, but the diet's generous use of olive oil has also drawn a lot of attention.

Olive oil, regardless of type, is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, containing about 75% by volume. When substituted for saturated fat, monounsaturated fats help lower your "bad" LDL cholesterol. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil add benefits beyond cholesterol lowering.

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