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Reduce LDL cholesterol with seed oils

Sunflowers, sunflower oil and sunflower seeds

Credit: BigStock

Known as low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), bad cholesterol is a causal risk factor for coronary heart disease. Blood levels of LDL cholesterol (blood lipids) are often tested to evaluate the risk of heart disease. If you want to reduce bad cholesterol in your blood, it is encouraged to consume unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats, according to many studies. But previous research that established the benefits of mono and polyunsaturated fats over saturated fats for blood lipids swapped one food source at a time, making it difficult to establish which of the vegetable oils might be beneficial.

The study found that solid fats like butter and lard are the worst for LDL.

Researchers from the German Institute of Human Nutrition recently conducted a meta-analysis to compare the effects of different oils or solid fats on blood lipids. They used a new emerging technique called network meta-analysis to extract insights from 55 published studies dating back to the 1980s. To be included in the analysis, a study had to compare the effect of two or more oils or fats (safflower, sunflower, rapeseed, hempseed, flaxseed, corn, olive, soybean, palm and coconut oil, as well as lard, beef-fat and butter) on patients’ LDL, or other blood lipids like total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol or triglycerides, over at least three weeks.

The new technique enables the researchers to compare oils of fats such as butter and sunflower oil, which may never have been compared in other studies. The study found that solid fats like butter and lard were the worst for LDL. Safflower, sunflower, rapeseed, flaxseed, corn, olive, soybean, palm and coconut oil as well beef fats were more effective in reducing LDL, as compared with butter. The best alternatives for reducing LDL cholesterol were seed oils. Sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, safflower oil and flaxseed oil performed best.

However, there were limitations to this study. There was not enough evidence to choose the best oil among the seed oils for LDL. Also, the oils best at lowering LDL were not the most beneficial for triglycerides and HDL cholesterol. But researchers are looking towards further studies to clarify these issues.

Source: Journal of Lipid Research


Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!