JUN 24, 2017 1:19 PM PDT

Why Olive Oil is Good For the Heart

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

The American Heart Association recently pulled the rug under the feet of many health-conscious consumers when they published a study linking coconut oil to beef drippings and pork lard. But if coconut oil isn't as healthy as we think, what about olive oil, the longstanding supposed champion of healthy fat?

On the surface, olive oil and coconut oil have similar calories and total fat content. But when you dig deeper, olive oil has more of the good fat and less of the bad fat. Specifically, according to the Cleveland Clinic, every one tablespoon of olive oil has 78 percent of monounsaturated fat and 8 percent polyunsaturated fat. These are the fats linked to lowering total cholesterol reducing heart disease.

On the other hand, olive oil contains only 8 percent of saturated fat, as compared to the 92 percent found in one tablespoon of coconut oil. Saturated fat is the kind that raises LDL cholesterol, which can build up in your arteries like oil sludge in a car engine.

By this comparison, it's clear why olive oil wins out as the healthier fat. Watch the video to learn all about how olive oil is made.
About the Author
I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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