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Health Benefits of EVOO

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) has many health benefits that you shouldn’t ignore. There are a lot of different cooking oils out there that claim to be the best.  When you consider how an oil reacts to high temperatures – oxidative stability and ratio of monounsaturated fats – EVOO is the best. Studies show that cooking with EVOO can improve your foods nutrition content. Since the antioxidants found in EVOO are so resistant to high heat they don’t break down and are absorbed by the food, while helping the food retain some of its nutrients.  The high levels of polyphenols in EVOO have also been linked to reduced risk of bone loss with ageing.  There are a range of therapeutic properties which are beneficial to your health.

Cardiovascular Health

In regards to cardiovascular health, oleic acid (monounsaturated fat) has a high resistance to free radicals that helps slow down the spread of damaging chemical chain reactions. It decreases the risk of developing stiff or blocked arteries. Decreases LDL (bad cholesterol) and increases HDL (good cholesterol). For people with diabetes, it decreases blood glucose, so less insulin is needed.

Active Constituents in Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid)

Natural antioxidants:

Phenolic compounds (hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, derivatives of oleuropein). There have been 17 different compounds found in EVOO.  These compounds are considered to be the most bioactive substances found in EVOO.

a-tocopherols (vitamin E) this is the form of vitamin E that is preferentially absorbed and accumulated in our bodies.  Vitamin E deficiency may cause neurological problems and anemia. A serving of EVOO will account for 30% of your recommended daily amount.

Squalene

Is a compound similar to beta-carotene and is one of the major components of skin surface lipids.  EVOO is considered one the richest renewable sources of squalene.

Oleocanthal

Is a natural non-steroidal anti-inflammatory compound.  It’s responsible for the burning sensation at the back of the throat when consuming EVOO

Weight Control

An estimated 160 million Americans (nearly 1/3 of men and 60% of women) are either obese or overweight.  There are a number of health risks associated with being overweight/obese, such as hypertension, cardiac disease, stroke, and diabetes.  Evidence supports that people who eat a Mediterranean style diet, where EVOO is the main source of fat, usually have a lower body mass index (BMI) and are able to maintain it for longer.  EVOO also naturally helps you feel more satisfied after meals, which helps you eat less and manage your weight more effectively.

Anti-Ageing

The free radical theory proposes that ageing is caused by both normal metabolic processes and oxidative stress. Free radicals are oxidizing agents which cause damage to cells, affecting the lipid components of the cell membrane, altering membrane fluidity and resulting in subsequent cell ageing.  This process can be prevented by antioxidants.  Premium EVOO has high levels of natural antixodants and play a role in protecting lipid membranes from oxidative damage.

Inflammation

Oleocanthal has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  Similar to classical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, it’s a non-selective inhibitor of cyclooxygenase (COX), which acts similar to ibuprofen.  Oleocanthal has been linked to reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, by reducing the accumulation of proteins involved in the disease.  It has also been shown as a treatment of inflammatory degenerative joint disease.

No matter what diet you are on, what stage of life you are in, EVOO should be part of your daily food choices.

References: Nutrional aspects of extra virgin olive oil – Claudia Guillaume- 11 September 2105

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