Olive oil: A major player in preventing heart disease
Although the health insurance and longevity of the Mediterranean people are associated with a geniune Mediterranean diet saturated in plant foods and low in animal products, what has really defined this traditional diet may be the abundant use of olives and olive oil, the main fat source and the culinary foundation of the Mediterranean cuisine.
For centuries, olive oil is a major player in the low incidence of cardiovascular disease among Mediterranean populations. Extensive research shows that olive oil not only can prevent harm to the arteries but can also reverse high degrees of cholesterol in the blood and lower high blood pressure, a major risk for strokes.
In a report conducted by Montoya and associates, the participants followed four types of diets for a five-week period: One diet was abundant with fats; one in polyunsaturated fat (sunflower oil); one in monounsaturated fat (extra virgin olive oil); and the last one in omega-3 fatty acids from fish. The study showed that when people followed the diet rich in extra virgin essential olive oil, their levels of bad cholesterol transpired and their blood pressure decreased 5 to 6 percent.1
We realize that extra virgin essential olive oil is an irreplaceable source of fat in terms of the heart because the main fat in essential olive oil is monounsaturated, the fat that does not get stuck in the arteries. We also understand that all olive oils have about the same proportion of monounsaturated fat. Then, why buying extra virgin olive oil when it is more expensive than refined essential olive oil? Two major reasons:
1. Refined olive oils contain chemicals
Thousands of years back, the olives were crushed yourself in spherical stone basins; today, in an identical method, olives (with pits) are pounded and crushed using mechanical techniques. The oil produced in such a way (cold) is the extra virgin essential olive oil, the natural juice from the olives. It preserves the initial flavor, smell, and healthy properties of the fruit.
The solid residue that remains following the first extraction is repaid to the press to be beaten again and be subjected to different heat levels and chemical procedures. It really is neutralized with sodium hydroxide, passed through charcoal filters, and extracted with hexane at low temperatures. The resulting oil lacks color and aroma, and contains lost the majority of its antioxidant properties. That is why these second extractions are not recommended for consumption. As time passes, the use of oils which were subjected to chemical agents could have a toxic effect on our bodies.
2. Extra virgin essential olive oil contains more antioxidants than their refined versions
Countless studies conducted to examine the activities of some minor compounds in essential olive oil have indicated that they are strong antioxidants and potent free radical scavengers. Free radicals are highly unstable and destructive molecules that subject our cells to oxidative stress, continuous damage that eventually kills the cells. When radicals kill or damage enough cells in an organism, the organism ages and finally dies. EB1 The antioxidants in essential olive oil are located in larger amounts in extra virgin olive oil than in refined olive oils. Let’s have a look at some of them.
o Vitamin E (ï¿½-tocopherol). Essential olive oil contains alpha-tocopherol or vitamin E, the tocopherol with the best natural antioxidant activity and something of the most effective defenders against oxidation inside our cell membranes. Consistent evidence demonstrates people with low levels of vitamin E in the blood have significantly more damage in the arteries than people with an adequate amount.1 On average, the amount of vitamin E in the oil is approximately 24 to 43 milligrams for each 100 grams of oil.2 A tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil contains 1.6 milligrams (2.3 IU [International Units]) of vitamin E, providing 8 to 15 percent of the recommended daily intake.
o Polyphenols: tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol. Extensive research demonstrates polyphenols are potent antioxidants and inhibitors of free radical “attacks.” Tyrosol is fairly stable and can undo oxidation of LDL cholesterol.3 Hydroxytyrosol is an efficient trash picker of free radicals also it plays a part in the shelf life of the oil, delaying its auto-oxidation.4 Based on some studies,5 typically, these compounds in olive oil account for the following approximate levels:
1. Extra virgin olive oil: 4.2 milligrams for each 100 grams
2. Refined essential olive oil: 0.47 milligrams for each 100 grams
As we can appreciate, you will find a big difference between the amounts found in extra
virgin essential olive oil and refined oils.
o Hydrocarbons: squalene. The major hydrocarbon in olive oil is squalene, another powerful antioxidant. One study6 shows that the common intake of squalene is 30 milligrams each day in the usa. The intake in the Mediterranean countries can reach 200-400 milligrams per day. The dose of squalene within olive oil is approximately the following:
1. Extra virgin olive oil: 400-450 milligrams per 100 grams
2. Refined olive oil: 25 % significantly less than extra virgin olive oil6
Buying extra virgin essential olive oil may be a little more expensive, but in the long term you may save lots of money and lots of grief. Let’s follow an authentic Mediterranean Diet with olive oil, in particular extra virgin olive oil being part of it.
Olive oil: A major player in preventing heart disease