Olive Oil is a rich source of monounsaturated fats, that are know to decrease the risk of heart disease by decreasing levels of artery-clogging lipids in the blood. In addition, Olive Oil is a quality source of polyphenols -- powerful antioxidants that are always attracting attention for their ability to promote exceptional health.
Recent research urges that by incorporating healthful virgin Olive Oil in your daily diet, you may be able to shield yourself against not only cardiovascular disease, as well as cancer and inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
While many Olive Oils press the supermarket shelves, studies suggest that unrefined virgin Olive Oil may offer the greatest health-promoting benefits because of the high content of beneficial polyphenols.
Improving Cardiovascular Health
A good amount of evidence supports the role of virgin olive oil in protecting against cardiovascular disease. And although it has been known that Olive Oil helps decrease total cholesterol and polyunsaturated lipoprotein (LDL) levels, new research is opening up the light on its additional cardiovascular benefits.
A recent study set out to measure the effects of three different classes of olive oil (containing low, medium, or high content of polyphenols) on plasma lipid levels and measures of oxidative stress.
In this study, 200 healthy men were randomly assigned to consume 25 mL of each type of Olive Oil each day for three weeks, preceded by a two-week washout period.
Levels of LDL, HDL, blood sugar, triglycerides, and oxidative stress markers were measured following each intervention. While levels reduced similarly with all 3 types of Olive Oil, the polyphenol-rich virgin Olive Oil created the greatest developments in HDL level and the many drastic decreases in oxidative stress markers.
Staving Off Cancer
Epidemiological studies have long recommended that a Mediterranean-style diet rich in Olive Oil is associated with a diminishing risk of numerous types of cancer.
Scientists have proposed that a handful of constituents of Olive Oil may be responsible for its anti-cancer effects. These include its antioxidant polyphenols as well as the lipid acid, which is highly resistant to peroxidation.
Recently, oncology researchers were thrilled to discover that oleic acid, the main monounsaturated fatty acid in Olive Oil, may fight cancer by interacting with the human genome.
Oleic acid actually works to curb the over-expression of a well-characterized oncogene that plays a important role in the etiology, invasive progression, and metastasis of several human cancers.
This unbelievable discovery could lead to the evolution of novel olive-oil-based cancer therapeutics.
Choosing and Using Olive Oil
Most of the planet's Olive Oil is manufactured in the Mediterranean regions of Greece, Spain, France, and Italy. An assortment of Olive Oil are available in grocery shops. The quality of Olive Oil is determined by its acid content, expressed as oleic acid -- the more refining or filtering it goes through, the higher the acid level. The greener the oil, the less acid it contains.
Olive Oils are deep golden to brilliant green in color. Virgin Olive Oils are derived from the first pressing of the olives, and contain no more than 2% acidity. They are considered to have a superior taste compared to refined olive oils.
Virgin Olive Oil contains no refined oil. Given all the evidence about the health benefits of polyphenol-rich olive oil, it is well worth the extra price to purchase virgin olive oil.
Exposure to light and heat can cause Olive Oil to turn rancid. Our Olive Oil Experts recommend that you make certain that you keep it in a cool place and keep it in an opaque bottle.