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The Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Posted Aug 04 2008 7:14pm 4 Comments

What makes olive oil healthy and wholesome? Olive oil is considered a monounsaturated fatty acid. When compared to the heart clogging saturated fatty acids found in butter and polyunsaturated fatty acids found in vegetable oil, monounsaturated fatty acids actually ward off heart disease. Olive oil also contains oleic acid which is perhaps the most healthful fatty acid for humans.

Researchers have found that people who consume a ‘Mediterranean diet’ have a lowered risk of heart attacks and strokes. This is due to the high amount of olive oil used in the meals. One study found that the blood of men who ate olive oil-based food for three weeks was less likely to clot following a fatty meal when compared with the blood of men who consumed mainly sunflower or canola oil based diets.

Populations that use olive oil as their primary fat source also enjoy lower levels of total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol. A Greek study published demonstrated that a diet rich in olive oil also reduced the incidents of rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers studied 188 control subjects without rheumatoid arthritis and 145 patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The study revealed that those who ate the least amount of olive oil were 2.5 times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those who ate the higher amounts of olive oil. (American Journal Clinical Nutrition)

Olive oil is also beneficial to your mind and skin. Olive oil may prevent dementia. A study found that a diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which was primarily supplied by olive oil, prevented memory loss. The more the olive oil rich foods were consumed the greater was the protection from cognitive decline. It has also been proven to be an effective skin toner. Olive oil is a potent moisturizer. Olive oil is also loaded with antioxidant chemicals, which may also protect the skin from aging.

When choosing olive oil, which is best? The extra-virgin variety is the best to choose. Extra-virgin olive oil is made from the crop’s first pressing and maintains acid levels below 1%. It is much tastier than the other varieties and is the most heart-healthy type. You should also select the ‘cold pressed’ varieties. Oils that are manufactured without heat retain more nutrients than those exposed to heat. Finally be sure to look for oils made from organically grown olives. Pesticides used in many of the olive crops may be carcinogenic.

It is wise to store olive oil in colored-glass containers and in a dark cabinet. Storing olive oil in open or warm areas, like above the stove, will trigger a chemical reaction that can spoil the oil and produce disease-causing free radicals. If you do not plan to use olive oil often it is best to purchase small bottles to prevent spoiling.

To maximize the benefits of olive oil in your diet it is best to use it in place of butter or lard. Use one-third less olive oil than the amount of hard lipids or fats called for by the recipes. Watch your health improve along with your mind and skin.

Until next time,

Dr. Daisy

Comments (4)
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Hi Dr. Daisy S,

Animal fat has 40-55% oleic acid according to Dr. Mary G. Enig. She also mentioned that it is the good HDL-Cholesterol that goes up with consumption of saturated fat. Same with the nonatherogenic big and fluffy LDL-cholesterol but to a lesser extent.

When they examined the artery clogs they found this:

Titre du document / Document titleDietary polyunsaturated fatty acids and composition of human aortic plaques Auteur(s) / Author(s)FELTON C. V. (1) ; CROOK D. (1) ; DAVIES M. J. ; OLIVER M. F. ; Affiliation(s) du ou des auteurs / Author(s) Affiliation(s)(1) Wynn inst. metabolic res., London NW8 9SQ, ROYAUME-UNIRésumé / AbstractHow long-term dietary intake of essential fatty acids affects the fatty-acid content of aortic plaques is not clear. We compared the fatty-acid composition of aortic plaques with that of post-mortem serum and adipose tissue, in which essential fatty-acid content reflects dietary intake. Positive associations were found between serum and plaque ω6 (r=0.75) and ω3 (r=0.93) polyunsaturated fatty acids, and monounsaturates (r=0.70), and also between adipose tissue and plaque ω6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (r=0.89). No associations were found with saturated fatty acids. These findings imply a direct influence of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids on aortic plaque formation and suggest that current trends favouring increased intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids should be reconsidered Revue / Journal TitleLancet   ISSN 0140-6736   CODEN LANCAO  Source / Source1994, vol. 344, no8931, pp. 1195-1196 (9 ref.) 

Note: Vegetable oils are high in PUFA.

 

I hope you find the above information enlightening.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Angel S. Respicio, Jr.

Titre du document / Document title

 

Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids and composition of human aortic plaques

 Auteur(s) / Author(s)

FELTON C. V. (1) ; CROOK D. (1) ; DAVIES M. J. ; OLIVER M. F. ;

 

Affiliation(s) du ou des auteurs / Author(s) Affiliation(s)

 

(1) Wynn inst. metabolic res., London NW8 9SQ, ROYAUME-UNI

 Résumé / AbstractHow long-term dietary intake of essential fatty acids affects the fatty-acid content of aortic plaques is not clear. We compared the fatty-acid composition of aortic plaques with that of post-mortem serum and adipose tissue, in which essential fatty-acid content reflects dietary intake. Positive associations were found between serum and plaque ω6 (r=0.75) and ω3 (r=0.93) polyunsaturated fatty acids, and monounsaturates (r=0.70), and also between adipose tissue and plaque ω6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (r=0.89). No associations were found with saturated fatty acids. These findings imply a direct influence of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids on aortic plaque formation and suggest that current trends favouring increased intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids should be reconsidered Revue / Journal TitleLancet   ISSN 0140-6736   CODEN LANCAO  Source / Source1994, vol. 344, no8931, pp. 1195-1196 (9 ref.) Note: Vegetable oils are high in PUFA.

I hope this looks better:  

Titre du document / Document title

 Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids and composition of human aortic plaques

Auteur(s) / Author(s)FELTON C. V. (1) ; CROOK D. (1) ; DAVIES M. J. ; OLIVER M. F. ; Affiliation(s) du ou des auteurs / Author(s) Affiliation(s)(1) Wynn inst. metabolic res., London NW8 9SQ, ROYAUME-UNIRésumé / AbstractHow long-term dietary intake of essential fatty acids affects the fatty-acid content of aortic plaques is not clear. We compared the fatty-acid composition of aortic plaques with that of post-mortem serum and adipose tissue, in which essential fatty-acid content reflects dietary intake. Positive associations were found between serum and plaque ω6 (r=0.75) and ω3 (r=0.93) polyunsaturated fatty acids, and monounsaturates (r=0.70), and also between adipose tissue and plaque ω6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (r=0.89). No associations were found with saturated fatty acids. These findings imply a direct influence of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids on aortic plaque formation and suggest that current trends favouring increased intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids should be reconsidered Revue / Journal TitleLancet   ISSN 0140-6736   CODEN LANCAO  Source / Source1994, vol. 344, no8931, pp. 1195-1196 (9 ref.)
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