What Is Olive Oil And Who Uses It Most?
Olive oil comes from the fruit of olive trees (Olea europaea) and whole olives are pressed to produce the oil.
Olive oil is used in cosmetics, medicine, cooking and soaps, and Greece has the highest olive oil intake per person in the world.
Greeks consume, on average, 24 liters per-person-per-year and the Spanish and the Italians consume between 13 and 15 liters-per-person-per year.
The Health Benefits Of Olive Oil Are Proven!
So please ignore the few doctors and others that are saying the opposite, because they are simply trying to attract attention.
But before we look at the proven benefits of olive oil, let’s take a look at which ones to use, and for what.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil, which is sometimes referred to as EVOO, comes from the first pressing of the olives, and it must contain no more than 0.8% acidity, and mustn’t contain any refined oil.
It’s the best one for salads or any cold dish, but it’s not good for cooking, because it has a low smoke point of 320°F / 160°C
Virgin Olive Oil
Virgin olive oil, cannot have undergone any refinement, but it has a higher acidity content, anywhere between 1-4% meaning that it contains less of its natural aromas and flavors.
Simple olive oil, is usually a blended oil, consisting of virgin olive oil blended with lower-quality refined olive oil and is the best olive oil for cooking.
Pomace Olive Oil
Don’t even think of using Pomace olive oil for cooking or for salads.
It’s very low grade and should only be used for cleaning furniture etc.
Tips When Buying Olive Oil
Choose olive oil that’s sold in dark bottles because the dark color helps to prevent oxidation of the oil, which is something that can quickly lead to deterioration of the oil and also rancidity.
The color of olive oils varies from dark green to a light golden color but the colors are not indicative of quality.
The labeling is the only valuable quality indicator.
And Finally The Health Benefits Of Olive Oil
First, a short video that will hopefully put you in the right mood for reading more.
And Now The Tested Health Facts About Olive Oil
Over the last fifty years, there have been thousands, and not hundreds, of studies examining the health benefits of olive oil.
And here are the results of just a few.
The Cardiovascular System
Maria-Isabel Covas, at the Parc de Recerca Biomèdica de Barcelona, Spain, carried out an extensive review of studies that had focused on the biological and clinical effects of olive oil and her study was published in the journal Pharmacological Research.
The olive oil study found that those who regularly consume olive oil are much less likely to develop cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke, and hyperlipidemia (high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels).
Covas also found that regular olive oil intake helps reduce inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, thrombosis and carbohydrate metabolism.
And Covas stated that,
"The wide range of anti-atherogenic effects associated with olive oil consumption could contribute to explain the low rate of cardiovascular mortality found in Southern European Mediterranean countries, in comparison with other western countries, despite a high prevalence of coronary heart disease risk factors".
Dr. Cécilia Samieri, from the University of Bordeaux and the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in Bordeaux, France, and colleagues reported in the journal Neurology that olive oil may prevent strokes in older people.
The team found that older people who regularly used olive oil for cooking and salad dressing or with bread had a 41% lower risk of stroke, compared with their counterparts who never or hardly ever consumed it.
Dr. Samieri said,
"Stroke is so common in older people and olive oil would be an inexpensive and easy way to help prevent it".
Healthy Cholesterol Levels
A Japanese study published in the Medical Science Monitor proved, somewhat conclusively, that LDL-cholesterol mean concentrations were lowered in 28 outpatients who were given olive oil supplements once a day for six weeks.
The study authors concluded,
"These results point to an overwhelmingly beneficial influence of olive oil on the lipoprotein spectrum".
Amal Kaddoumi and his team, in a study that was published in the journal Chemical Neuroscience, set out to determine whether oleocanthal might help reduce the accumulation of beta-amyloid, which is believed to be a major contributor to Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
The study authors concluded that,
"Extra-virgin olive oil-derived oleocanthal associated with the consumption of Mediterranean diet has the potential to reduce the risk of AD or related neurodegenerative dementias".
Extra virgin olive oil is rich in oleic acid and hydroxytyrosol, both of which act upon the development of acute pancreatitis, which is a sudden inflammation of the pancreas.
Researchers at the University of Granada in Spain carried out an in vitro experiment which found that the components of extra virgin olive oil can protect from acute pancreatitis.
Head researcher, María Belén López Millán said that,
"There is increasing evidence that there are oxidative-inflammatory processes involved in the origin of chronic diseases and that diet plays an important role in such processes".
Investigators at the University of Monastir, Tunisia, and King Saud University, Saudi Arabia, carried out a study which suggests that extra virgin olive oil, partially protected rats from oxidative stress.
In this study, which was published in BioMed Central, Mohamed Hammami and colleagues reported that laboratory rats exposed to a moderately toxic herbicide that were fed on a diet containing olive oil were partially protected from liver damage.
"Olive oil is an integral ingredient in the Mediterranean diet. There is growing evidence that it may have great health benefits including the reduction in coronary heart disease risk, the prevention of some cancers and the modification of immune and inflammatory responses. Here, we’ve shown that extra virgin olive oil and its extracts protect against oxidative damage of hepatic tissue".
* Oxidative stress is essentially an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects through neutralization by antioxidants.
Scientists at the University of East Anglia in England say that consuming increased olive oil consumption reduced the risk of ulcerative colitis by up to 90%
Ulcerative colitis, is a fairly common long-term (meaning chronic) disorder, and is a disease that causes inflammation of the large intestine (the colon).
It is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that is similar to Crohn’s disease, which is a related disorder.
Dr Andrew Hart and his team gathered and analyzed data on more than 25,000 people living in Norfolk, England.
They were aged between 40 and 65 years.
The volunteers were part of the EPIC study (European Prospective Investigation into Diet and Cancer), which spanned the years from 1993 to 1997.
None of the volunteers had ulcerative colitis at the start of the study.
The participants regularly completed questionnaires and kept detailed food diaries, which included information on their overall health and consumption of fats.
In a 2004 follow up, the researchers compared the diets of those who had developed ulcerative colitis with those who had not.
They discovered that the participants with the highest intake of oleic acid, which is a component of olive oil, had a 90% lower risk of developing ulcerative colitis compared to those with the lowest intake.
Dr. Hart said,
"Oleic acid seems to help prevent the development of ulcerative colitis by blocking chemicals in the bowel that aggravate the inflammation found in this illness. We estimate that around half of the cases of ulcerative colitis could be prevented if larger amounts of oleic acid were consumed. Two-to-three tablespoons of olive oil per day would have a protective effect".
How About Frying With Olive Oil?
According to researchers at the Autonomous University of Madrid in Spain in an article reported in the BMJ (British Medical Journal).
“People who fry their foods fried in olive oil do not have a higher risk of heart disease or premature death”.
In this study, Professor Pilar Guallar-Castillón and colleagues surveyed 40,757 adults aged from 26 to 69 years over an 11-year period.
The research focused on the people’s cooking methods and their dietary habits.
None of the participants had heart disease when the study started.
The team defined fried meals as food that had only been fried.
Participants were also asked whether their fried food was sautéed, battered or crumbed.
The researchers concluded:
"In a Mediterranean country where olive and sunflower oils are the most commonly used fats for frying, and where large amounts of fried foods are consumed both at and away from home, no association was observed between fried food consumption and the risk of coronary heart disease or death".
And Finally If It Really Matters
(After reading so many many health benefits).