Monthly Archives: September 2011

Some of the Health Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

• Reduce blood pressure
• Inhibit the growth of some cancers
• Benefit people at risk for or with diabetes
• Lessen the severity of asthma and arthritis
• Actually help your body maintain a lower weight

Healthy Heart Benefits

Atherosclerosis, also called hardening of the arteries, occurs when particles of LDL cholesterol stick to the walls of the arteries. Eventually these particles build up and form plaque. This plaque narrows the blood vessels and increases the work load of the heart in an effort to get oxygenated blood to the entire body. The result can be a heart attack or stroke.
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and antioxidants like chlorophyll, carotenoids and vitamin E. Scientists have identified a compound in olive oil called oleuropein which prevents the LDL cholesterol from oxidizing. It is the oxidized cholesterol that sticks to the walls of the arteries and forms plaque. Replacing other fats in your diet with olive oil can significantly lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack.

Cancer Inhibitor

A study published in the January 2005 issue of Annals of Oncology has identified oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid found in olive oil, as having the ability to reduce the affect of an oncogene (a gene that will turn a host cell into a cancer cell). This particular oncogene is associated with the rapid growth of breast cancer tumors. The conclusion of the researchers was that oleic acid when combined with drug therapy encouraged the self-destruction of aggressive, treatment-resistant cancer cells thus destroying the cancer. Olive oil has been positively indicated in studies on prostate and endometrial cancers as well.
Unlike other fats, which are associated with a higher risk of colon cancer, olive oil helps protect the cells of the colon from carcinogens. A study published in the November 2003 issue of Food Chemistry Toxicology suggests that the antioxidants in olive oil reduce the amount of carcinogens formed when meat is cooked.

Blood Sugar Controller

Diabetics or those at risk for diabetes are advised to combine a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet with olive oil. Studies show this combination is superior at controlling blood sugar levels compared to a diet that consists entirely of low-fat meals. Adding olive oil is also linked to lower triglyceride levels. Many diabetics live with high triglyceride levels which put them at risk for heart disease.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

The body uses the healthy fats in olive oil to produce natural anti-inflammatory agents. These anti-inflammatory agents can help reduce the severity of both arthritis and asthma. Uninflamed cell membranes are more fluid and better able to move healthy nutrients into the cells and move waste products out. A lower incidence of osteoporosis and dementia is found in areas where people consume large quantities of olive oil.

A Fat That Helps You Lose Fat

Sounds impossible, right? A study conducted on eight over-weight men published in the September 2003 issue of the British Journal of Nutrition yielded results that indicate a significant loss of body weight and fat mass can be achieved without increasing physical activity and making only one change in eating habits: the substitution of olive oil for saturated fats.
The eight men were divided into two groups and for four weeks ate similar foods with the exception that the first group ate more saturated than unsaturated fats. The second group consumed the same number of calories as the first group, but the fats were mostly monounsaturated fat (olive oil). At the end of four weeks, the men from the second group were lighter and had a lower body-fat index than the men who ate the saturated fats.

Cannelini Beans With Olive Oil, Garlic and Oregano

This is a very simple and fast dish to make.

You can double the recipe and keep a bowl in the refridgerator.

One 15.5oz. can of Cannellini beans drained and rinsed
One large clove of garlic finely chopped
Three tablespoons of Malibu Olive Company Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
One tablespoon dried thyme or oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and serve at room temperature.

Be careful, this is an easy dish to eat all at once, it is sooo good.

Olive Oil Battles Breast Cancer

BARCELONA, Spain, Feb. 6 (UPI) — Scientists in Spain confirm the polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil help to combat breast cancer.

Javier A. Menendez, of the Catalonian Institute of Oncology, in collaboration with Alberto Fernandez Gutierrez, and Antonio Segura Carretero, of the University of Granada confirmed the bioactivity of polyphenols — natural anti-oxidants — present in olive oil helps combat breast cancer cell lines.

The study, published in the journal BMC Cancer, confirms the potentiality of polyphenols to inhibit HER2 breast cancer activity and to promote its degradation.
The results, together with the fact that humans have consumed secoiridoids and lignans safely for a long time through oil and olive oil consumption, endorse the fact that such phytochemicals could be an excellent and safe basis for the design of new anti-HER2 compounds, the researchers said.

How Olive Oil Lowers Cholesterol

Olive Oil has long been popular for both cooking and seasoning in Mediterranean countries. These days, however, it’s being rediscovered in America. The low frequency of heart disease among those living in Mediterranean countries, despite lifestyles similar to more industrialized nations, has made us look more closely at their diets. The Mediterranean diet is lower in saturated fat than the typical American diet, but the total fat content can range from under 30 percent of calories to more than 40 percent of calories, which is considered high by American dietary guidelines. A distinctive difference between the two diets is the amount of monounsaturated fat in the Mediterranean diet.

The heavy use of olive oil by people living in that part of the world is the source of the high level of monounsaturated fat in their diets. Olive oil is rich in oleic acid, the most common monounsaturated fatty acid found in the diet. Numerous studies indicate that monounsaturated fat is about as effective as polyunsaturated fat in lowering total blood cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, when substituted for saturated fat in the diet. Plus, monounsaturated fat does not lower beneficial HDL cholesterol or raise triglycerides, unlike polyunsaturated fat, which, at high intakes, may lower HDL cholesterol.

The Food and Drug Administration allows manufacturers of olive oil to claim that “limited but not conclusive evidence suggests that eating about two tablespoons of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil.” Despite this qualified health claim, keep in mind that regardless of the type of oil you use, all oils have the same amount of calories — 120 per tablespoon. To avoid weight gain, watch your portion size, and use oil in place of — not in addition to — other fats in your diet.

Olive Oil: A Natural Pain Killer?

Could a traditional food have pain- and inflammation-reducing effects similar to over the counter pain medicine like ibuprofen?

Scientists from Italy, Spain, the U.S. and Australia have discovered that extra virgin olive oil can provide significant health benefits, including the ability to help reduce pain and inflammation.

This robust, flavorful oil is an example of the food as medicine concept, that foods can have a powerful impact on health.

A Mythical, Sacred Oil

From ancient Greece to the Holy Land, olive oil has been treasured. Celebrated as sacred in Greek mythology, the olive branch symbolized peace in Hellenic culture. Evidence of this ancient oil was discovered in 1901 at the “Room of the Olive Press” at Knossos on the island of Crete in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. From there olives were pressed into oil over 4,500 years ago and the olive oil was exported to North Africa and mainland Greece.

Cultivation of olive trees spread around the Mediterranean where olive oil flourished along with many early civilizations. The bible speaks of olive oil, and it has been used by Christianity and Judaism as a holy anointing oil.

Today, the major producers of olive oil are Spain, Italy, Greece, Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco and Syria.

But the growing popularity of olive oil can be seen in the spread of cultivation around the world to countries such as the U.S., Chile, and South Africa. Australia has become an energetic olive oil producer and exporter, and has just announced a record crop.

During travels with my family from the south of France to Tuscany to Greece I have witnessed the special beauty of the olive tree and tasted its fruit. Able to withstand heat, sun and survive on only a little moisture, the hardy olive tree became an icon of the Mediterranean region. Freezing temperatures, however, can harm the trees and the crop.

Eating Healthy With Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil can contribute nutritional support in the fight against such health problems as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, and in pain management.
A research study from Spain has shown that higher olive oil consumption is associated with leaner body weight, an important factor in prevention of chronic conditions.
Another study from the universities of Navarra and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain looked at how diets including olive oil might offer protection against depression: Bad Fats Linked to Depression

Natural Painkiller Discovered in Olive Oil

Recent research has identified the antioxidant called oleocanthal, which is only found in extra-virgin olive oil. Scientists at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, in Philadelphia, found that oleocanthal in olive oil has a potency strikingly similar to that of the drug ibuprofen in inhibiting the cyclooxygenase (Cox) enzyme that causes pain and inflammation. Their findings were published in the science magazine Nature.
Given the side effects of common pain relieving drugs, finding a nutritional way to reduce pain and inflammation could be a solution for people suffering from pain.
In another study Italian researchers explain that the characteristic pungent and bitter taste of virgin olive oil have been attributed to phenols in the oil that have potential antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, chemopreventive and anti-cancer benefits.

Research on Health Benefits of Olive Oil

At the meeting of the “International conference on the healthy effect of virgin olive oil” that took place in Spain in 2005, numerous benefits of virgin olive oil from the research were outlined. They looked at the consumption of olive oil from the perspective of issues such as cardiovascular health, cancer and longevity. With respect to anti-aging they noted: “The more recent studies consistently support that the Mediterranean diet, based in virgin olive oil, is compatible with a healthier ageing and increased longevity.”
Consumption of olive oil has been associated with:
Reduction of total cholesterol and an increase in the high-density cholesterol (HDL-C), which has a protective effect on blood vessels.

Improved sensitivity of cells to insulin, which helps to prevent the Metabolic Syndrome. Preventing Metabolic Syndrome is important, because the syndrome increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s disease.

Potent Antioxidant Power of Olive Oil

Phenolic compounds are potent antioxidants found in virgin and extra-virgin olive oil. These compounds give unrefined olive oils their distinctive flavors and high degree of stability.

Studies indicate these compounds may be able to:
Turn off the activity of genes that produce the kind of inflammation that causes coronary heart disease.

Decrease production of inflammatory chemicals called thromboxanes and leukotrienes.

Decrease the production of the most damaging form of cholesterol, oxidized LDL cholesterol.

University of South Australia researchers note that compounds from the olive were found to be antimicrobial against various bacteria.

And olive oil is just the beginning of anti-inflammatory foods. Learn more about fighting pain and inflammation in my article: Natural Anti- Inflammatory Foods and Supplements That Help Arthritis

Enjoying Olive Oil

The research studies focus on the benefits of extra-virgin olive oil, so this is what I always buy. I look for organic oil that has been grown without pesticides. Freshness counts, so I like shop where they sell a lot of oil, such as a big health food store. Store it in a cool place.
The amount of olive oil associated with protection against inflammation is only two teaspoons a day, which is easy to achieve. A sprinkle of olive oil makes a simple salad dressing, and a little oil can be used for dipping bread, instead of butter. Olive oil can also be used in baking.
Here is a popular tangy and sweet recipe.

Pomegranate Lime Dressing
Pomegranate juice is an outstanding source of flavonoids which help to reduce inflammation.
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon unsweetened pomegranate juice
In a jar, shake together the extra virgin olive oil, lime juice, and pomegranate juice. Serves 1.

Article written by Leo Galland, MD