Yes. Possibly virgin. A trial in 200 men showed : oil with higher amounts of polyphenols, virgin olive oil, had greater effects in raising hdl-c and lowering oxidized LDL than refined olive oil. This study does appear to show that other components apart from monounsaturated fatty acids, affect lipid levels, it is uncertain whether it was actually the polyphenols that resulted in these differential benefits.
Yes. Olive oil is great for cooking, in general. Remeber that olive oil adds flavor so that sometimes you may want another, neutral flavored heart healthy oil like canola. Please visit www.Whatscookingwithdoc.Com for cooking and health updates. As to virgin or non, i generally recommend the cold first press virgin whenflavor is extremely important like salad dressing or drizzling. Less exensive o/w.