Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is the most health-promoting of edible oils and is cold pressed olive juice. It is the key ingredient of the healthy ‘Mediterranean diet’ and has many elements that research is discovering provide significant health benefits and that correlates to the good health of the Mediterranean population.
Consumers should only buy EVOO that complies with the Australian Standard / AOA CoP.
Protection against chronic degenerative disease
Research has shown that people who use olive oil regularly, in place of other fats, have a much lower rate of heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, asthma, atherosclerosis and Alzheimers disease.
Polyphenols are responsible for olive oil health benefits
The abundance of polyphenols in EVOO rather than its monounsaturated fatty acids are responsible for its cardiovascular benefits. Polyphenols are known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-coagulant actions, and may also be central to emerging evidence that EVOOs’ protective effects extend to colon cancer, osteoporosis and Alzheimers disease.
Heart health benefits of EVOO are due not only to its high content of monounsaturated fats but also its high concentration of antioxidants, including chlorophyll, carotenoids and the polyphonic compounds tyrosol, hydrotyrosol, and oleuropein, all of which not only have free-radical scavenging abilities but protect the Vitamin E (alpha- tocopherol) also found in EVOO.
According to recent research, the risk of stroke and heart attack is halved in just 2 to 4 years if the Mediterranean diet is adopted.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2004 allowed the qualified health claim for monounsaturated fat from EVOO and reduced risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).
Lower blood pressure
The Mediterranean diet, with its key components, EVOO, vegetables and fruit, are associated with lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure. When the effects of vegetables and EVOO were compared in research, EVOO gave the dominant beneficial effect on blood pressure.
Reduced breast cancer risk
Oleic acid, the primary monounsaturated fatty acid in EVOO, has been shown to reduce the expression of Her-2/neu oncogene, which is associated with aggressive growth of breast cancer tumours.
Better blood sugar control
Studies on diabetic patients have shown that healthy meals that contained some EVOO had better effects on blood sugar levels, even better than healthy meals that were lower in fat. It prevents insulin resistance by raising HDL-cholesterol, lowering triglycerides and ensuring better blood level control and lower blood pressure. High triglyceride levels occur in diabetic people, which is a problem since the high levels also contribute to the development of heart disease.
Research has revealed that two EVOO polyphenols, oleuropin and hydroxytyrosol, significantly reduce the inflammation-mediated bone loss involved in osteoporosis.
Regular use of EVOO has been associated with lower rates of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis as the monounsaturated fats in EVOO are used by the body to produce substances which are relatively anti-inflammatory.
Protect DNA from free radical damage
The phenol content of EVOO is reduced when it is exposed to light and light (so it should be stored in cool and opaque containers). The effect was observed in a study where DNA experienced 30% less damage when high phenol content EVOO was consumed compared to the consumption of EVOO with lower phenol content.
The Mediterranean Diet decreases DNA damage that can lead to the development of tumours and in men with prostate cancer.
Further anti-inflammatory properties
Although its chemical structure is different from the anti-inflammatory compounds in non-steroidal drugs such as Ibuprofen, EVOO contains an anti-inflammatory component, known as ‘oleocanthal’, that has a similar effect. A 50 gram dose of EVOO supplies enough ‘oleocanthal’ to produce an effect equivalent to that of about 10% of Ibuprofen dose recommended for adult pain relief.
Protection against colon and brain cancer
The phenolic compounds in EVOO protect against colon cancer and stomach cancer developing, whilst most other fats are associated with an increased risk of those cancers.
Stomach cancer can develop from gastritis and peptic ulcers in older people and poly-phenol rich foods such as EVOO can mitigate those infections from developing.
Compounds in extra virgin olive oil also inhibit key proinflammatory molecules involved in the development and progression of aggressive brain cancer.
Improves health outcomes for Fibromyalgia sufferers
Biologically active compounds in EVOO decrease oxidative stress and improve functional capacity in fibromyalgia sufferers.
Neuroprotective effects in cellular model of Parkinson's Disease
Polyphenol Oleuropein in EVOO possesses neuroprotective effects in an in vitro model of Parkinson's Disease when administered preventively as a pre-treatment.
Reduction in ‘trans’ fats
Trans fats are a significant cancer risk and are contained in a number of processed and fried foods, and some margarines. EVOO contains no trans fatty acids and takes much longer to convert to ‘trans fat’ in the continued reheating of frying oil compared to other oils.
It is therefore a myth that EVOO should not be used for frying and due to its composition and concentration of antioxidants EVOO is, in fact, the best oil for pan frying because:
The nutritional value and composition of EVOO are not substantially altered through reheating. Studies have shown that oxidation and hydrogenation occurs to a lesser degree in EVOO than other oils which is due to the fact that EVOO is high in monounsaturated fatty acids. EVOO contains its own natural antioxidants that protect its integrity in cooking.
EVOO is a most stable ‘fat’ and stands well to high frying temperatures, and its high smoking point (210 C) is substantially higher than the ideal temperature for frying food (180 C).
Food fried in EVOO has a lower fat content than food fried in some other oils because when EVOO is used, very little is absorbed during frying, and this makes EVOO suitable for weight control measures in cooking.
13. A fat that helps you lose weight
Substituting EVOO for saturated fat in your diet can translate into a small but significant loss of both body weight and fat mass without changing anything else about your diet or increasing your physical activity.
14. Skin and scalp health
Japanese researchers have found that applying EVOO to the skin after sunbathing reduces the risk of developing skin tumours and that it remediates dried and sunburnt skin.
EVOO on the scalp will prevent head lice and dandruff, and olive / olive oil soap is good for skin.
15. Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids
EVOO contains both Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.
Omega 3 fatty acids are important in preventing cardiovascular disease, and are particularly high in oily fish such as salmon and flax seed oil. Omega 6 fatty acids reduce the risk of coronary artery disease and there is an ongoing debate about how much Omega 3 versus Omega 6 there should be in our diet.
One authoritative medical text advises that fatty acids should make up 1-2% of the dietary calories for adults with a suggested ratio of 10:1 Omega 6: Omega 3 fatty acids. EVOO is about 10% linoleic acid (an Omega 6 oil) and about 1% linolenic (an Omega 3 oil) which is the 10:1 ratio.
If you were only using EVOO for your dietary fat, and fats represented 30% of the calories in your diet, then you would be getting 3% of your calories in the form of essential fatty acids in a 10:1 ratio. Other and more recent studies suggest closer to a 5:1 ratio would be more beneficial.
16. Depression Cure
EVOO is a key component of the Mediterranean Diet and a recent scientific study has found that this diet could prevent the onset of depression.
17. Improves Brain Function
A new study has found that the Mediterranean Diet improves brain function, slows cognitive decline, reduces the risk of Alzheimer's, and for people of age around 80 reduces brain shrinking.
18. Menstrual Pain
Daily doses of EVOO taken two weeks prior to the menstrual cycle is more effective at reducing pain severity than common NSAID ibuprofen.
YES, THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL ARE A-M-A-Z-I-N-G !!
References:www.whfoods.org www.internationaloliveoil.org www.oliveoiltimes.com (Weekly Newsletter) Journal of Agriculture & Food Chemistry – 7.12.09
Olive oil provides many health benefits when used in cooking or when poured over salads. The use of olive oil can improve digestion and can benefit heart metabolism through its low content of cholesterol. Experts claim that olive oil consumption will cause a person to grow shiny hair, prevent dandruff, prevent wrinkles, prevent dry skin and acne, strengthen nails, stop muscle aching, lower blood pressure and cancel out the effects of alcohol.
Olives have a long history of domestic use going back over 6000 years.
The olive tree was first cultivated in the Middle East, and from Greece it went to Spain in the 4th century BC, to France around 650BC and to Italy around 550BC.
From the 14th – 16th century AD – the Renaissance Period – Italy became the largest producer of olive oil in the world. In this period, olive trees were brought to the new world, and olive farming began in Australia in the 1800’s with the first trees planted in South Australia in 1836.
Cooking with olive oil began in the 5th century BC according to Plato. The Roman historian Pliny wrote "Except the vine, there is no plant which bears a fruit of as great importance as the olive". The Greek philosopher Democritus believed that a diet of honey and olive oil would allow a man to live 100 years.
Olive oil is a key ingredient of the Mediterranean Diet, which is judged in Australia every year as the ‘best diet of the year’.
And the rest is history!