by Elizabeth Renter
Boost your olive oil consumption and live longer! Sounds simple, right? It’s not. While olive oil can have amazing benefits to the cardiovascular system, research shows that it’s not entirely simple. How you eat your olive oil, where your oil comes from, and even where you store it can impact its benefits. So, pay close attention to these benefits and how to make the most of them.
In 2003, a study published in the Journal of the National Medical Association indicated a diet rich in fish, olive oil, and plants decreased inflammation and heart disease. In 2009, a study in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology showed that when paired with a Mediterranean diet, the consumption of olive oil lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease. That same year, another study was published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology affirming that a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil could reduce heart disease, lower fats in the liver, improve insulin levels, and regulate blood sugar.
And these studies are only the tip of the iceberg.
NaturalNews concludes the findings of one other study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:
“Study participants whose olive oil intake ranked in the top quarter had a 26 percent lower risk of dying of any cause and a 44 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease compared to those who did not consume olive oil. The risk of mortality from causes other than cancer or heart disease was reduced by 38 percent for those whose olive oil intake was greatest.”
However, one thing these studies had in common was that olive oil was part of a healthy, natural diet rich in plants.
Olive oil, like many healthful natural foods, contains polyphenols. These are the same beneficial compounds in red wine and other foods common in the Mediterranean diet. Without these polyphenols, olive oil would be similar to canola oil—another monounsaturated fat.
These polyphenols decrease heart disease risk factors like blood pressure and cholesterol. They can also improve arterial health.
The more polyphenols, the more health benefits. Olive oil pressed from an olive tree in your backyard is ideal and likely very rich in polyphenols. Some say this is why people in the Mediterranean reap even more benefits from olive oil than we do. But, there are things you can do to get the most out of your store-bought olive oil as well.
First, buy extra virgin olive oil. This is the oil that comes from the first pressing of the olives. No heat or other processing is used. Second, if you have local olive farmers (as a growing number are cropping up in the U.S.), shop local! Finally, don’t heat your olive oil. Think of it as a flavor enhancer to add after cooking. Heat degrades the benefits of the oil. It breaks them down. So, add a spoonful to your salad or put over your roasted vegetables after they come out of the oven.
Be aware: the olive oil you buy could be low quality and even fake. Here are additional tips on choosing the best olive oil.