We get to hear a lot about cholesterol these days, and unfortunately, it is for all the bad reasons. Generally associated with heart health, elevated levels of cholesterol are known to increase the risk of heart diseases. But do we know there’s a ‘good cholesterol’ too?
What is Cholesterol?
Before we talk about high blood cholesterol, it is important to understand cholesterol. A fat-like substance present in all cells of the body, cholesterol is required by our body to produce vitamin D, hormones and substances that aid digestion.
Cholesterol is present in the bloodstream as small packages called lipoproteins – low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). While LDL high levels of LDL (also referred as bad cholesterol) leads to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries, HDL cholesterol (also called “good” cholesterol) carries cholesterol to the liver which removes it from your body. It is a high-risk condition which increases the risk of developing heart diseases including coronary heart disease.
Human body sufficiently produces the cholesterol it requires. Therefore, consumption of foods that contain cholesterol may cause the blood cholesterol levels to increase beyond the required limits. It is important to choose cooking oils carefully as some of them may raise the levels of cholesterol in blood stream. Butter, a common ingredient for many Indian recipes but it is better to do away with buttering as even the moderate intake of butter is known to increase total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. 
Among the healthy alternatives, many research studies advocate the use of olive oil for a healthy heart. Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and polyphenols, olive oil is known to protect the heart from atherosclerosis, a medical condition associated with high blood cholesterol. In addition, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, one of the variants of olive oil, helps lower blood pressure, improves the lipid profile by decreasing bad cholesterol (LDL) and increasing good cholesterol (HDL), and prevents the formation of fatty deposits in the arteries. Studies also recommend dietary supplementation of olive oil to maintain heart health and reduce the risk of heart-related ailments.  Extra virgin olive oil consumption has also been found to offer beneficial effects for patients affected by Metabolic Syndrome which is characterized by a group of risk factors known to increase the risk for heart disease and other associated health conditions including diabetes and stroke. 
While the benefits of cooking with olive oil to keep cholesterol in check are well-documented, the different variants of olive oil can help ensure that we use it for all styles of Indian cooking, ranging from parantha to pasta. Pomace Olive Oil is suitable for all types of cooking including deep frying, stir frying and sautéing. Olive Oil – Extra Oil is a healthy choice for recipes that require sautéing and stir frying. Extra Virgin Olive Oil can be a main culinary choice for cold dishes, dress salads, pasta, rice, vegetables, meat and fish. Also, it is a healthy butter substitute on your toast or roti.