Extra Virgin, Olive oil : Health Benefits, Description, How to Select and Store, How to Enjoy, Individual Concerns, Nutritional Profile ...

Anyone coming from the Mediterranean region in the world would say about the health benefits and the wonderful taste of a good dose of olive oil on salads, pastas, fish and almost anything else. Fortunately, it is available throughout the year to satisfy the taste buds and to promote good health.
Olive oil is made from grinding and subsequent pressing of olives. The fact that the olives are rich in oil is reflected in the botanical name of the olive tree, Olea europea, since the word "oleum" means oil in America. Extra virgin olive oil is obtained from the first pressing of the olives and has a delicate flavor and more antioxidant benefits.

Food table
This chart graphically details the% DV that a serving of olive oil, extra virgin offers for each of the nutrients of which it is a good source, very good or excellent according to our Food Rating System. Additional information about the amount of these nutrients provided by the extra virgin olive oil can be found in the Food Rating System Chart. A link that takes you to the In-Depth Nutritional Profile of extra virgin olive oil, the information over 80 nutrients, can be found in the Food Rating System Chart.

* Health Benefits
* Description
* History
* How to select and store
* How to enjoy
* The individual concerns
* Profile views nutrition
References *

Health Benefits

Pure, extra virgin olive oil is not only a light and delicate addition to many wonderful dishes, is one of the health-promoting types of oils available. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, a type of fat that researchers are finding has excellent health benefits.

Protection against chronic degenerative disease

In many parts of the world, a high fat intake is associated with degenerative diseases such as arteriosclerosis, diabetes, asthma, colon cancer, and arthritis. But in some parts of the world, a high fat intake is actually associated with lower rates of these conditions. A closer look at food consumption at these sites reveals that a high intake of fat is actually due to the generous use of olive oil. The comparison of these areas, such as the Mediterranean, where olive oil is the fat most commonly used, other regions such as the U.S., where other fats such as animal fats, trans fats and vegetable oils like corn oil master, appears very interesting data. It turns out that people who use olive oil regularly, especially in place of other fats, have much lower rates of heart disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and asthma.

Living Longer, Eat an olive oil rich Mediterranean-style diet

In a prospective study (one in which participants are chosen and then followed forward in time) the participation of 5.611 adults aged 60 years or more, the pattern of adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet - characterized by high consumption of oil olive oil, raw vegetables, soups and poultry - was associated with a significantly lower risk of death from all causes.

After 6.2 years, which more closely follows the "olive salad" a Mediterranean diet had a 50% risk reduction in overall mortality. Much less favorable results were observed in the most closely following a 'pasta and meat "dietary pattern - characterized by pasta, tomato sauce, red meat, processed meat, added animal fat, white bread and wine - that in general a higher risk of mortality.

The authors conclude that "dietary recommendations aimed at the Italian elderly population should support a dietary pattern characterized by high consumption of olive oil, vegetables and poultry." (Masala G, H Ceroti, et al., Br J Nutr.)

Heart Health

Olive oil to protect against heart disease, high

Relying only on olive oil can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by almost half, the results show CARDIO2000 of cases and controls, published in Clinical Cardiology (Kontogianni MD, Panagiotakos DB, et al.).

Conducted in Greece, and the participation of 700 men and 148 women with coronary heart disease, and 1078 by age and gender healthy controls, this study did not look only to the diet, but also in alcohol consumption, physical activity and smoking. Dietary habits, including the use of cooking oils and everyday food preparation was also evaluated.

Even after adjustments were made to take into account a variety of other variables - such as body mass index, smoking, physical activity level, educational level, family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes - using olive oil exclusively associated with a 47% lower risk of coronary heart disease.

The consumption of other fats or oils and olive oil, however, offered no protection.

The researchers concluded: "The exclusive use of olive oil in food preparation seems to offer significant protection against coronary heart disease, irrespective of various clinical lifestyles, and other characteristics of the participants."


* Instead of serving butter, fill a small condiment dish with extra virgin olive oil for use in bread, bread, potatoes or other vegetables.
* For more flavor, try adding a few drops of balsamic vinegar or a pinch of your favorite spices to olive oil.
* For maximum health benefits and flavor of olive oil, buying and storing oil in opaque containers, and add olive oil to food immediately after cooking.

Studies on olive oil and atherosclerosis reveal that particles of LDL (potentially harmful cholesterol) that contain monounsaturated fats in olive oil are less likely to corrode. Since only oxidized cholesterol sticks to artery walls, forming plaques that can lead to heart attack or stroke, preventing oxidation of cholesterol is a good way to help prevent atherosclerosis. A recent in vitro study also showed that polyphenolic compounds present in olive oil, including oleuropein, inhibit the adhesion of monocytes to cells lining the blood vessels, a process that is involved in the development of atherosclerosis. Moreover, when people with high cholesterol saturated fat removed from their diet and replaced it with olive oil, total cholesterol levels dropped an average of 13.4% and LDL cholesterol levels fell by 18%. Note, however, that these benefits are produced when using olive oil instead of other fats, rather than just adding olive oil to a diet high in unhealthy fats.

A study published in the Medical Science Monitor daily reported that two tablespoons of olive oil added to a diet with no change in 28 outpatients, aged between 64 and 71, resulted in significant decreases in total and LDL cholesterol. The mean concentrations of total cholesterol decreased by 0.818 mmol / L, and mean LDL levels fell 0.782 mmol / L. Moreover, subjects of the HDL: LDL improved, but ended with higher amounts of protective HDL in relation to smaller quantities of hazardous substances in LDL cholesterol.

Three other recent studies (Valavanidis et al;. Morella et al, .. Masella et al, see references below) suggest that such heart-healthy effects of olive oil is not only due to its high content of monounsaturated fats, but also their high concentration of antioxidants, such as chlorophyll, carotenoids and polyphenolic compounds tyrosol, and oleuropein hydrotyrosol, all of which has not only the scavenging of free radicals, but to protect vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) is also found in oily olive.

Greek scientists at the University of Athens, reporting their research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry believe that the synergy of these beneficial nutrients is what is responsible for the contribution of olive oil health benefits Mediterranean diet, a hypothesis supported by the Italian research published in the Journal of Nutrition.

In this study, the scientists found that the phenols in olive oil has very potent antioxidant effects. The protective effect exerted by biophenols extra virgin olive oil, namely, protocatechuic acid and oleuropein, oxidation of LDL include:

* Fully preventing oxidation of LDL is when placed in a medium containing cells such as macrophages (in the arteries, atherosclerosis begins with damage macrophage LDL, from the development of foam cells that infiltrate in the artery wall and begin the formation of plaque)
* Inhibition of the production of two potent oxidants that normally have occurred and are damaged LDL, thus preventing the expected decrease in glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that the body produces to disarm oxidants (also known as free radicals)
* Restoring normal levels of protection activities of two enzymes of free radical-containing glutathione disarmament: glutathione reductase and glutathione peroxidase
* Inducing higher than normal production and activity of both enzymes containing glutathione.

Olive oil, Super Food for the heart

A review of research by renowned olive oil researcher Maria Covas suggests that diets in which olive oil is the main source of fat may be a useful tool against a wide variety of risk factors for cardiovascular disease. (Covas MI, Pharmacology Research)

In November 2004, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) U.S. allowed a claim on the labels of olive oil in relation to "the benefits of the risk of coronary heart disease from eating about two tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil per day, due to the monounsaturated fat (MUFA) in oil olive. "

But recent studies have shown that olive oil contains much more than monounsaturated fatty acids. Olive oil is a functional food that is also rich in antioxidants and phenolic compounds with a variety of protective effects.

The cholesterol in a person whose diet is rich in olive oil containing mostly oleic acid, the fatty acid that predominates in olive oil and oleic acid is more resistant to damage from free radicals and oxidants. And not just the LDL of a person whose fat intake is primarily olive oil produces LDL that is more resistant to damage from free radicals, but LDL that individual will be protected by olive oil supplies of vitamin E and phenols with antioxidant activity, further decreasing the likelihood of corrosion.

By reducing inflammation and free radical damage of cholesterol, dietary olive oil protects the endothelium, the lining of our blood vessels, helping to maintain its ability to relax and dilate (thus preventing high blood pressure).

By protecting LDL against oxidation, olive oil circuits cut the process by which atherosclerotic plaques form. (Only once oxidized LDL adhere to the endothelium, which attracts immune cells (monocytes) to try to clean up, they become foam cells and start the formation of plaque.)

The anti-inflammatory effects of a virgin olive oil diet, also give rise to a vascular environment in which the platelets are less likely to clump together and form blood clots. Not only the antioxidant compounds of olive oil reduce inflammation initiated by free radical damage, but olive oil is rich in inhibitors of a compound called platelet activating factor (PAF). FAP initiates the clotting process, causing platelets to aggregate and also participates in the activation of immune cells and binding to the endothelial wall.

Compared with diets high in saturated fat and low-fat diets high in carbohydrates, a number of studies have shown that diets rich in olive oil only reduce LDL cholesterol levels but also reduce blood sugar levels in the blood and decrease insulin requirements in people with type 2 diabetes.

Tip: Trust the tasty, tasty olive oil as your first choice for dressing salads. Put some olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the plate of bread and use it to add flavor to whole wheat bread and crispy rolls. Drizzle olive oil over the potatoes, beans, grains, steamed vegetables and soups. Not only enhance the flavor of your food, but greatly reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Virgin olive oil best oil for heart health

Virgin olive oil, a much richer source of polyphenols of refined oils refined olive or other, is the best vegetable oil for heart health, shows the results of the EUROLIVE study, published in September 2006 Annals of Medicine Internal.

The study research center 6, led by Maria Isabel Covas, the Municipal Institute of Medical Research in Barcelona, assigned 200 healthy men in 5 European countries - Spain, Denmark, Finland, Italy and Germany - to one of the three sequences daily consumption of olive oil. The men replaced their normal dietary fats with olive oil (25 ml) containing 2.7 (refined), 164 (blank) or 366 (extra virgin) mg / kg of phenols for 3 weeks. This was followed by two weeks without any olive oil and then a crossing of each of the other two remaining interventions.

Blood samples were taken before and after each intervention to measure blood sugar, total and HDL (good cholesterol), triglycerides, free radical damage of cholesterol and antioxidant levels.

The data revealed a linear increase levels of HDL cholesterol (good) as the phenolic content of olive oil rose, with increases of 0.025, 0.032 and 0.045 mmol / L for low, medium and high polyphenol-containing oils olive.

Oxidized LDL (the way it is LDL in atherosclerosis) decreased linearly, from 1.21 U / L of -1.48 U / L, to -3.21 U / L for low olive oil medium and high polyphenol-, respectively. And the ratio of total cholesterol, HDL, considered the specific risk factor for cholesterol associated with cardiovascular disease, also declined linearly with the phenolic content of olive oil increased.

"Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat. Its phenolic content can also provide benefits for plasma lipid levels and oxidative damage," concluded the researchers.

A statement issued by the Municipal Institute of Medical Research said: "This study represents a key part of the recommendations and provides information of great impact to the community, especially in populations or countries where olive oil does not contain the usual diet. "

Extra virgin organic olive oil, if available, may cost a bit more of the oils of lesser quality, but the significant increase in cardiovascular benefits, not to mention a richer flavor offering, make a considerable investment in good health.

Key to the Mediterranean diet for low blood pressure

Teodora Psaltopoulou and colleagues at the University of Athens, Greece investigated whether the Mediterranean diet as a whole, or just olive oil, is responsible for the reduction in blood pressure associated with this way of eating. His conclusion: while the overall diet lowers blood pressure, olive oil, by itself, is largely responsible.

The Greek team examined the ability of the overall diet and olive oil only to reduce blood pressure. Their study included more than 20,000 Greek participants who were free of hypertension (high blood pressure) at baseline. Food frequency questionnaires were completed and the systolic and diastolic blood pressure were taken.

Diet was assessed by a score of 10 points reflects the degree to which study participants followed a Mediterranean diet and also provide scores for individual components of the diet, including olive oil.

The data analysis confirmed that the Mediterranean diet as a whole was significantly associated with lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure, like olive oil, vegetables and fruits. On the other hand, consumption of cereals, meat and meat products, and alcohol intake was associated with higher blood pressure. When the effects of olive oil and vegetables were compared, olive oil was found to be responsible for the dominant beneficial effect on blood pressure.

Polyphenols, no fat, Benefits Manager olive oil

It is likely that the abundance of polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil, rather than its monounsaturated fatty acids, are responsible for their known cardiovascular benefits.

And its rich supply of polyphenols, which are known to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticoagulant actions, may also be central to new evidence that the protective effects of olive oil spread to colon cancer and osteoporosis (see protection against colon cancer, olive oil polyphenols prevent bone loss also in this section.)

Research conducted by Dr. Juan Ruano and colleagues at the Hospital Universitario Reina Sofía, Córdoba, Spain, and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, investigated the effects of virgin olive oil on endothelial function in 21 volunteers with levels high cholesterol.

The endothelium, although only one cell thick layer of flat cells lining the inner wall of the blood vessels may be the key player in cardiovascular health. Among its many functions, the endothelium orchestrates the mechanics of blood flow, and regulates blood clotting and immune cell adhesion to blood vessel wall (one of the first steps in the formation of plaque).

Normally after a meal, endothelial function is affected by several hours. Blood vessels become less elastic, and the levels of potentially harmful free radicals cholesterol (lipoperoxide and 8-epi-prostaglandin F2) rise.

But when the subjects in this study ate a breakfast containing virgin olive oil, with its usual high phenolic content (400 ppm), endothelial function actually improved the levels of nitric oxide (a compound of the blood vessels, the produced by the endothelium) increased significantly, with far fewer free radicals that are normally seen after a meal.

When they ate the same breakfast containing the same type of virgin olive oil phenolic content reduced to 80 ppm, the beneficial effects were virtually absent, and increased concentrations of free radicals damaging cholesterol.

The results of this study underscore the importance of knowing how to select, store and serve olive oil to maximize its polyphenol content. To get all the information you need, check our How to Select and below the section of the store.

Olive oil special protection in people with high cholesterol

A variation on the previous study also shows that the inclusion of some extra virgin olive oil (rich in phenols against clots) in your diet can help prevent blood clots, an event whose probability increases after eating, especially in people with high cholesterol.

In the early stages of atherosclerosis, the balance between clot-promoting and clot-dissolving factors in the blood vessels changes for the formation of blood clots, an even more dangerous because of the high levels of fat that can occur in the blood after a meal.

Researchers had 21 people with high cholesterol eat two different breakfasts. For a week, consuming white bread with virgin olive oil containing 400 parts per million, phenols, or white bread with olive oil that much of the phenols had been removed, leaving only 80 parts per million. Study participants then switched to the opposite meal. After the meal-phenol olive oil, the concentrations of the participants of the two promoters of blood clots, factor VII antigen and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, were much lower compared with the olive oil meal low phenol. (Ruano J, Lopez-Miranda J, et al., Am J Clin Nutr.)

Cardio-protective olive oil - but do not overdo it

It is the Mediterranean version of the French Paradox: the REGICOR study conducted in Spain, researchers found a lower incidence of heart attacks despite a high prevalence of risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Olive oil, representing nearly 35% of calories and is the main source of fat in Mediterranean countries, was a likely explanation.

To investigate this, María Isabel Covas, PhD, Head of Research Group on Oxidative Stress and Nutrition, Lipids and Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit, Municipal Institute of Medical dInvestigació, Barcelona, Spain, brought together an international team with partners from Denmark, Finland, Germany and Greece to cooperate in the EUROLIVE project.

In addition to studies on the bioavailability of olive oil polyphenols in humans, the EUROLIVE Project has conducted six trials in which three olive oils, similar except for differences in their content of polyphenols (low, 2.7 mg / kg, average 164 mg / kg, and high, 366 mg / kg) were given to healthy male volunteers in the intervention periods of 3 weeks at doses of 25 ml / day.

The EUROLIVE study results have shown that:

The higher the polyphenol content of olive oil, the greater the increase in HDL "good" cholesterol. average increase in HDL was 0.025 mmol / L for low, 0.032 mmol / L for medium, and 0.045 mmol / L of olive oil phenolics, respectively. (Extra virgin olive oil contains the most polyphenols, followed by virgin olive oil, olive oil and a highly refined olive oil called pomace.)

atherogenic index of the subjects (the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol) and oxidative (free radical) damage of cholesterol and other lipids decreased as the polyphenol content of olive oil increases. (Lipid free radical damage of oxidation of cholesterol and other fats, is considered a high risk factor for developing coronary heart disease.

In men of the north and central Europe, which normally do not eat a Mediterranean diet, daily consumption of olive oil ml 25 resulted in a decrease of 3% of systolic blood pressure.

The consumption of 25 ml / day of olive oil in place of other fats, did not cause weight gain.

A moderate amount of olive oil, a dose of 25 ml (1.7 tablespoons)-did not promote postprandial (after meals), oxidative stress (free radical damage of cholesterol), while a dose of unique olive oil 40 ml (2.7 tablespoons) did. Tip: Olive oil, particularly extra virgin olive oil, offers a series of heart-healthy benefits by increasing HDL "good" cholesterol, improving the ratio of LDL: HDL cholesterol, and, if not already follow a Mediterranean diet can lower systolic blood pressure as well. But do not overdo it. The consumption of more than a couple of tablespoons at a meal can increase free radical damage of cholesterol.

Key to the Mediterranean diet to reduce breast cancer risk

Olive oil may be the key reason that eating a Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of breast cancer, suggests a laboratory study published in the Annals of Oncology. Oleic acid, the main monounsaturated fatty acid in olive oil has been shown to reduce the expression of Her-2/neu oncogene, which is associated with aggressive growth of breast cancer tumors. High levels of Her-2/neu are in a fifth of breast cancers, especially those that are resistant to treatment.

In this study, when Menendez and colleagues from Northwestern University in Chicago two strains of cells exposed to aggressive breast cancer in oleic acid, the levels of Her-2/neu was reduced 46%. When combined with oleic acid levels lower than normally used Herceptin, a drug used to treat breast cancer, oleic acid greatly enhanced the effectiveness of the drug, falling Her-2/neu expression by up to 70% . The end result: oleic acid promotes cell death by apoptosis (suicide) of aggressive, treatment-resistant cells of breast cancer.

A human study adds to evidence that olive oil is a key factor in reducing breast cancer risk associated with a Mediterranean diet. The results of this study over two years which included 755 women in the Canary Islands suggest that monounsaturated fats, namely olive oil has a protective effect against breast cancer.

Study participants consuming more monounsaturated fat had a 48% lower risk of breast cancer compared with women whose intake of monounsaturated fat was lower.

Among women who consumed olive oil more specifically, breast cancer risk was even lower. Compared with those who consume less olive oil, women whose daily consumption of olive oil was at least 8.8 grams, the equivalent of only 0.65 tablespoon a day, their risk was 73% lower risk of cancer mama!

Better Blood Sugar Control

Studies in diabetic patients have shown that healthy foods containing a little olive oil better than the effects on blood sugar till the healthy meals that were low in fat. When olive oil is used to improve low in saturated fat, high carbohydrate diet for diabetics, diet is still beneficial in controlling blood sugar. Besides this, a good diet for diabetics with some added olive oil helps keep levels of triglycerides. Triglyceride levels tend to be high in diabetic patients, which is a problem because high levels also contribute to the development of heart disease. Thus, high-carbohydrate diet healthy with diabetes with a little added olive oil can help for several reasons.

Helps prevent belly fat and improve insulin sensitivity

What you eat can affect the fat deposits in your body. Abdominal fat is associated with insulin resistance, which leads to weight gain and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.

When researchers fed type 2 diabetic patients with different diets - a high-carbohydrate diet or a diet rich in saturated fat or oil or olive oil (Mediterranean diet) - high-carbohydrate diet increased abdominal fat compared with diets rich fat. Of the three diets, diet rich in olive oil best, avoiding not only the accumulation of abdominal fat, but insulin resistance and decreased adiponectin seen after eating high-carbohydrate diet.

Adiponectin, a hormone produced and secreted by fat cells (adipocytes), regulates the metabolism of sugar and fat, improves insulin sensitivity and has anti-inflammatory effects in cells lining the blood vessel walls. Low blood levels of adiponectin are a marker of metabolic syndrome are common in obesity, and are also associated with an increased risk of heart attack.

Your diet not only provides calories but information. The instructions to reach the cells through a Mediterranean-type diet rich in monounsaturated fat in olive oil and nuts improves insulin sensitivity, reduce blood sugar and help prevent fat from accumulating around your center. (Paniagua JA, Gallego of the Sacristan A, et al., Diabetes Care)

The anti-inflammatory benefits

For other diseases go, the regular use of olive oil has been associated with lower rates of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Monounsaturated fats in olive oil are used by the body to produce substances that are relatively anti-inflammatory. By reducing inflammation, these fats can help reduce the severity of the symptoms of arthritis, and may be able to prevent or reduce the severity of asthma.

Minor components of extra virgin olive oil, ie its squalene, beta-sitosterol and tyrosol may help explain why the Mediterranean diet has shown these beneficial effects on cardiovascular health and cancer prevention, suggests a study published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine. It is generally accepted in the medical community that excessive production of free radicals and inflammatory compounds derived from the use of the body of omega-6 fatty acids (found mainly in meat, corn, safflower and sunflower) contributes to the development of both cardiovascular disease and cancer. In this study, researchers tested the effects of squalene, beta-sitosterol and tyrosol in a number of free radicals and inflammatory compounds produced from omega-6 (arachidonic acid metabolites). In each case, the compounds of olive oil significantly inhibited the production of molecules that cause problems or rendered them harmless.

Help olive oil phenols "prevent bone loss

The bone-sparing effects of olive polyphenols revealed in studies conducted by a special team at INRA (National French Institute of Agricultural Research) are so dramatic that a new Belgian company, BioActor, has licensed patents for use INRA olive polyphenols for osteoporosis prevention in food, supplements and herbs.

The World Health Organization calls the most osteoporosis global health problem with an aging population also beset by obesity, a condition now known to significantly increase inflammation throughout the body, including bones, which contributes significantly to osteoporosis. Today, the risk of a woman's lifetime of osteoporotic fracture is 30-40%, and even men face a risk of 13%.

INRA researchers, inspired by epidemiological evidence that people who eat a traditional Mediterranean diet were less likely to develop osteoporosis, began to investigate the effects of olive oil and different compounds in olive leaves on bone metabolism.

His early studies revealed that two of olive polyphenols, hydroxytyrosol oleuropin and largely reduce bone loss mediated by inflammation involved in osteoporosis.

After a study was published in the British Journal of Nutrition, showed that both oleuropein and olive oil feeding can prevent inflammation-induced osteopenia (bone weakening) in animals whose ovaries have been removed, an animal model designed to simulate senile osteoporosis, the bone loss condition that affects the elderly, as it combines both hormone deficiency with chronic inflammation.

Although the animals did not fully recover all of their bone density compared with controls, rats fed oleuropin (0.15g/kg) or olive oil (50 g / kg) daily for 3 months 70-75% recovered their bone density, a 50% improvement compared to control animals that received 25g/kg peanut oil and 25 g / kg rapeseed oil a day.

The INRA team, led by Dr. Veronique Coxam, is developing the protocol for a human study, which, if all goes well, could begin before the end of 2006.

The olive oil phenols protect DNA from free radical damage

extra virgin olive oil, which, when properly cold-pressed and stored in opaque containers, it is naturally high in phenolic compounds with antioxidant properties, may be one of the main reasons for lower incidence of cancer and cardiovascular diseases in the Mediterranean region , suggests a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

This randomized, crossover involving 10 healthy postmenopausal women in Florence, Italy, found that when women use extra virgin olive oil high in phenols, the DNA damage seen a huge 30% less than that observed when oil is consumed Olive in which the phenol content, which can be destroyed by light and heat was low.

Be sure to buy only cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil is sold in an opaque container or possible to avoid exposure to light and retain their phenol content.

Powerful anti-inflammatory compound found in olive oil

Could become the olive oil in hopes new anti-inflammatory? Someday soon, your doctor may recommend avoiding aches and pains, and reduce the risk of cancer, by telling him to enjoy extra virgin olive oil with your meals throughout each day, suggests a study led by Dr. Pennsylvania biologist Gary Beauchamp and published in Nature.

Inspired by a tasting experience at a molecular gastronomy meeting in Sicily, where he realized that high quality olive oil produced a burning sensation of throat similar to that caused by ibuprofen, Beauchamp and his team analyzed down recently the extra virgin olive oil and discovered a compound that suppresses the prostaglandin system, the pain pathway as agents anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen.

Although its chemical structure is very different from the compounds anti-inflammatory drugs non-steroidal anti-inflammatory component of olive oil, which Beauchamp called oleocanthal, "has a similar effect.

A dose of 50 grams (about 4 tablespoons) of extra virgin olive oil oleocanthal enough supplies to produce an effect equivalent to about 10% of the ibuprofen dose recommended for adult pain relief.

While this amount does not cure a headache (and most people can not have the room in the diet of the fat calories in 4 tablespoons of olive oil), consumption of olive oil daily may prevent inflammation and confer some of the benefits of ibuprofen use long term without increasing the risk of intestinal bleeding and kidney damage that prolonged use of nonsteroidal medications such as ibuprofen also carry.

In addition, the extra virgin olive oil can greatly improve not only their health, but their enjoyment of meals throughout the day.

* For a very satisfactory breakfast, add a tablespoon of olive oil to your morning frittata.
* Dress up your salad for lunch with a spoonful of a second and a squeeze of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. Or place the olive oil and vinegar in a small dish and enjoy an aroma of a slice of whole grain crispbread.
* Improve the dinner vegetables with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese and a third tablespoon olive oil
* Top off your brown rice or pasta.

Scientists believe that this finding is important because inflammation plays a key role in a variety of chronic diseases. "Some of the health related effects of the Mediterranean diet may be due to the activity of oleocanthal premium olive oils," said Beauchamp.

Dr. Paul Breslin, who led the research with Beauchamp, added: "The Mediterranean diet, of which olive oil is a central component, has been associated with numerous health benefits, including reduced risk of stroke , heart disease, breast cancer, lung cancer and some dementias. Now that we know of oleocanthal anti-inflammatory properties, it seems plausible that oleocanthal plays a causal role in the health benefits associated with diets where olive oil the main source of fat. "

Although oleocanthal must be present in extra virgin olive oil, concentrations can vary depending on a number of factors, including the variety of olive and the age of the trees to press.

The best way to check the contents of oleocanthal olive oil? "Take the oil cleaner and see how hard it stings the back of the throat," Breslin recommends. "The bigger the bite, the greater the content of oleocanthal."

Supports digestive health

While most other fats are associated with an increased risk of colon cancer, olive oil is actually associated with lower risk of this disease.

One reason for the protective effect of olive oil may be its ability to reduce the amount of carcinogenic heterocyclic amines (HA) is formed when meat is cooked, suggests a study published in Food Chemistry Toxicology. The addition of foods that contain antioxidants to recipes containing meat has been shown to decrease the amount produced during cooking. In this study, were hamburgers fried in virgin olive oils and refined and virgin olive oil with refined olive oil and rosemary extract rosemary extract. Hamburgers fried in olive oil has been much less than cooked in refined olive oil, however, the longer the oil is stored, the less its HA-lowering effect, a good reason to buy olive oil in small quantities will be used within a month or two. The researchers theorized that the addition of rosemary with olive oil may help prevent this fall in its protective effects.

The incidence of colon cancer is lower in Mediterranean countries compared with northern Europe, a benefit believed to be due to the central role of oil in the Mediterranean diet. Laboratory research published in the International Journal of Cancer, support this hypothesis, showing that the phenolic compounds of virgin olive oil protect against various stages of development of colon cancer.

To investigate the mechanisms of olive oil "protection of action, researchers from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland phenols extracted from virgin olive oil and used in a series of in vitro (lab test) stages important modeling experiments of colon carcinogenesis.

In cell culture experiments, the colon cells were incubated with olive phenols for 24 hours were protected from hydrogen peroxide-induced DNA damage. The higher the level of phenols in olive oil, the better the protection.

In a cell culture in second place, 48 hours, olive phenols in a concentration of 50 ug / ml or more had significantly improved the barrier function of colonic epithelial cells (cells that form the lining of the colon) suggesting that phenols may exert an anti-promoter effect in the carcinogenesis pathway.

A third cell culture showed a significant inhibition of HT115, a highly invasive cell line of human colorectal cancer, phenol concentrations of 25, 50, 75 and 100 mg / ml, indicating that olive oil phenols may also reduce the invasion of colon cancer cells.
Oliva effective against Helicobacter pylori oil
Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that lurks in the gastric wall that causes chronic inflammation and promote the development of peptic ulcers and gastric cancer, is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics.

The search was focused on other substances capable of combating H. pylori researchers increasingly not only herbal extracts and essential oils that are used in traditional medicine, but foods rich in polyphenols.

Virgin olive oil, one of the few edible oils consumed raw, contains a number of active phytonutrients. Having run experiments on food-borne pathogens that were present in olive oil polyphenols have a very high level of antimicrobial activity against food-borne pathogens, Concepción Romero and his colleagues at the University Hospital of Valme, Sevilla, Spain decided to investigate the effects of olive oil H. pylori.

Using conditions that simulated human gastric environment, Dr. Romero and his team showed that a significant amount of olive oil polyphenols released from the oil in stomach acid and remained stable for several hours, putting strong anti-H. pylori, even against strains resistant to antibiotics.

Furthermore, only very low concentrations of olive oil extracts were necessary. Among the polyphenols which shows anti-H. pylori, one called Ty-EDA was so effective that only <1.5 mg / ml of this compound was needed to kill cells H. pylori in test tube experiments. To put this into practical perspective, Ty-EDA is present in most olive oils at concentrations up to 240 mg / ml.

While these results need to be confirmed in human studies are very promising, especially given previous research involving Russian olive oil and gastric ulcer. In this study, when patients with gastric and duodenal ulcers substitute for animal fat in your diet with olive oil, ulcer size was reduced considerably and the rate of ulcer healing significantly increased. (Taits NS, cited in the Lastra A, et al., Current Pharmaceutical Design.)

Tip: To promote gastrointestinal health by replacing the butter and refined oils in your diet with extra virgin olive oil. Since phenols and vitamin E in olive oil are damaged by light and heat, buying and storing olive oil in an opaque container. And do not use olive oil for cooking. Steam or lightly sauté foods in a tasty broth, then dress with olive oil immediately after cooking. You get more flavor and more nutrients from their oil.

A fat that can help you lose fat

The substitution of olive oil, a monounsaturated fat or monounsaturated fatty acids, saturated fats in your diet can lead to a small but significant loss of body weight and fat mass, both without changing anything else about your diet or increase their activity physical, suggests a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition. One of the most interesting about this research is to be held in eight men who were overweight or obese, aged 24-49 years. All males followed two diets for 4 weeks each. The first, saturated fat diet provided 24% of calories from saturated fat, 13% of monounsaturated fats, and 3% polyunsaturated fats, while the second diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, 11% of the calories came from saturated fat, monounsaturated fat 22% and 7% polyunsaturated fats. At the end of the diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, despite the fact that no significant differences in caloric intake, energy expenditure or physical activity, men were 2.1 kg lighter and fat mass had decreased by 2.6 kg.

Additional support for fat burning effects of olive oil comes from another study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, suggesting that monounsaturated fats found in olive oil caused an increase in fat breakdown in fat cells (adipocytes). In this study, 45 laboratory animals were divided into three groups, each was fed a normal diet, but the power of a different type of fat: olive oil, palmitic acid or soybean oil + palmitic acid. At the end of the study, a series of indicators of fat metabolism is measured as body weight, plasma leptin, the concentration of tissue fatty acids, the size of fat cells, fat cells lipolytic (fat interruption) activity, and the ability of insulin to inhibit the breakdown of fats. In animals that received the monounsaturated fat was not only increased fat breakdown, but the ability of insulin to block was lower. Interestingly, in rats treated with polyunsaturated fat as soybean oil, the opposite effect was observed in adipose tissue (fat).

Extra virgin olive oil is without doubt one of the best food oils available today. Just add olive oil to an unhealthy diet that is already soaked in saturated fats and vegetable oils will not result in any of the above benefits and may actually cause more harm than good, but when pure, extra virgin olive oil virgin is used as the main source of fat in whole foods, healthy eating plan, the potential goodness of this oil is imposed.


Olive oil is made from grinding and subsequent pressing of olives. The fact that the olives are rich in oil is reflected in the botanical name Olea europaea olive-Oleas, which means oil in America.

Olive oil is available in a variety of grades, which reflect the degree to which they have been processed. See How to select and store more information on these different grades of olive oil.


Olives, one of the oldest foods, is believed to have originated in Crete makes between five and seven thousand years. Since antiquity, the olive tree has provided food, fuel, timber and medicine for many civilizations, and has been regarded as a symbol of peace and wisdom. The olive oil is consumed venerable from as early as 3000 BC

Olives were brought to America by the Spanish and Portuguese explorers in the centuries 15 and 16. They were introduced to California by Franciscan missionaries in the 18th century. Olive oil has been and remains a staple in the diet of many Mediterranean countries. The recent discovery that the Mediterranean diet, which has appreciated this oil may be associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and other health conditions has made the olive oil to be very popular in the United States in recent decades . Today, much of the commercial cultivation of olive oil is still centered in the Mediterranean region in countries like Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal and Turkey.

How to select and store

Since olive oil can become rancid from exposure to light and heat, there are some important purchasing criteria you should follow to ensure the purchase of a better quality product. Look for olive oils sold in dark bottles from the container will help protect the oil from oxidation caused by exposure to light. Also, make sure the oil is shown in a cool place, away from any direct or indirect contact with the heat.

When buying olive oil, you will notice a number of different grades are available, including extra virgin, virgin fine, refined and pure.

* Extra virgin oil is unrefined from the first pressing of the olives and has a more delicate flavor.
* Madonna is also derived from the first pressing of olives, but has an acidity level greater than extra virgin olive oil (and less phytonutrients and a less delicate taste)

Chemically, the difference between extra virgin olive oil and virgin olive oil involves the amount of free oleic acid, which is an indicator of total acidity. In accordance with the rules adopted by the International Olive Oil Council, "virgin" can contain up to 2% free oleic acid, while "extra virgin" can contain up to 0.8% free oleic acid.
* Pure oil is a bit of a misnomer. Do not be fooled if you see the term "pure" on the label, means that oil is a blend of refined olive oils and virgin.

Another term that can be seen on a bottle of olive oil is "cold pressed." This term means that the minimum heating is used when mechanically processing olives for oil.

Proper storage techniques olive oil are very important, not only to preserve the delicate flavor of the oil, but also to ensure that no spoil and become rancid, which will have a negative effect on their nutritional profile.

While the monounsaturated fats in olive oil is more stable and resistant to heat than polyunsaturated oils that dominate the others (especially those easily damaged omega-3 fatty acids found in oily Flaxseed, which should always be refrigerated and heated ever), olive oil should be stored and used correctly within a few months to ensure healthy phytonutrients remain intact and available.

Research conducted at the University of Lleida in Spain and published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that levels of chlorophyll, carotenoids and phenolic antioxidants dramatically decreased after virgin olive oil had been in storage for 12 months- even under the best controlled conditions.

The chlorophyll content was reduced by 30%, beta-carotene by 40%, and vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) by 100%!

Phenols, which not only are the main antioxidants of virgin olive oil, but also are responsible for their distinctive flavor, also fell after 12 months of storage.

Research published in New Scientist magazine has confirmed that light destroys many of the antioxidants in olive oil. Researchers at the University of Bari in southern Italy, compared the oil stored in light or darkness for 12 months. Oils stored in clear bottles in supermarkets lighting conditions lost at least 30% of tocopherols (vitamin E) and carotenoids.

After just two months exposure to light, peroxide (free radical), the levels had increased while the olive oil and could not be classified as extra virgin.

Tinted glass containers display a little light, but dark plastic or nonreactive metal containers are the best option for conservation of beneficial compounds in olive oil.

If you buy oil in glass color, choose the back of the grocery shelf direct light. Unless certain turnover is rapid in your grocery store, ask the store how long the olive oil has been out on the platform. Buy olive oil in smaller containers and store in the dark. Leaving a bottle of olive oil in your kitchen or dining table will decrease its healing properties.

Be sure to choose extra virgin (or at least virgin) olive oil

A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition suggests that olive oil offers much greater protection against damaging free radicals in LDL cholesterol, one of the first steps in the initiation of atherosclerosis. In this double-blind, crossover randomized clinical trial, 30 healthy volunteers were given three similar olive oils with concentrations of antioxidant phenols ranged from 0 to 150 mg / kg The three olive oils were each given for 3 weeks preceded by a washout period of 2 weeks. After each phase of three weeks, the amount of oxidized (damaged) of LDL in volunteers' blood was analyzed, and test tube studies, the LDL is the ability to resist damage was assessed. Not only the consumption of olive oil resulted in less oxidized LDL and LDL oil is more resistant to damage, but virgin olive was also more effective in increasing HDL levels, how to protect cholesterol, than other oils.

The take home message:

Since phytonutrients are more concentrated in extra virgin olive oil found in opaque, airtight glass bottles or cans, this is your best choice when buying olive oil, both for the enjoyment the taste and health.

only to be used in three or four months and stored away from light and heat of purchase. Protect the taste of olive oil and antioxidants by transferring from one week to 10 days worth of oil to a smaller bottle to reduce oxidation that occurs when the oil is exposed to air. Let this little bottle at room temperature for ease of use, but refrigerate the rest. When the cold oil, olive oil and solidify a bit cloudy, but once restored to room temperature, which recovered to normal, and their quality is better maintained. Although it may be desirable, definitely not olive oil stored near the stove because the heat will damage it.

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A word about Heating

Different manufacturers list different smoke points for its olive oils and some manufacturers list a temperature very close to the smoke point as the upper limit for heating oil security. When these temperatures may be correct to avoid large amounts of some harmful substances that can be created by heating oil, are the proper limits for the conservation of single nutrients (especially polyphenols) found in high-quality olive oil extra virgin. The oxidation of nutrients found in extra virgin olive oil and the formation of acrylamide, can occur at temperatures very close to firing range 300F. For these reasons, we recommend a level of warming is much stricter than the warming include little or nothing to enjoy this delicious oil. Studies by the U.S.

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