Oils and Fats Super Food ( Earth )
Virgin Olive Oil : Super Food

Olive oil, extra virgin 

extra virgin oil oilAnyone coming from the Mediterranean region of the world would tell you about the health benefits, as well as the wonderful flavor, of a good dose of olive oil on salads, pasta, fish and almost anything else. Fortunately, it is available throughout the year to satisfy taste buds and promote good health.

Olive oil is made from the crushing and then subsequent pressing of olives. The fact that olives are rich in oil is reflected in the botanical name of the olive tree-Olea europea- since the word "oleum" means oil in Latin. Extra virgin olive oil is derived from the first pressing of the olives and has the most delicate flavor and most antioxidant benefits.


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

Health Benefits

Food ChartPure, extra virgin olive oil is not only a light and delicate addition to many wonderful dishes, it is one of the most health-promoting types of oils available. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat, a type of fat that researchers are discovering 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 atherosclerosis, 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 the foods eaten in these places reveals that the high fat intake is actually due to the generous use of olive oil. Comparing these areas, such as the Mediterranean, where olive oil is the main fat used, to other regions, like the United States, where other fats such as animal fats, hydrogenated fats and vegetable oils like corn oil dominate, turns up some 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.

Live 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) involving 5,611 adults 60 years or older, adherence to a Mediterranean style dietary pattern - characterized by high consumption of olive oil, raw vegetables, soups, and poultry - was associated with a significantly lower risk of death from all causes.

After 6.2 years, those most closely following a Mediterranean 'olive oil and salad' dietary pattern had a 50% reduced risk of overall mortality. Much less favorable were the results seen in those 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 - whose overall mortality risk increased.

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

Heart Health

Olive Oil Highly Protective against Heart Disease

Relying only on olive oil may cut your risk of coronary heart disease almost in half, show results from the CARDIO2000 case-control study, published in Clinical Cardiology (Kontogianni MD, Panagiotakos DB, et al.).

Conducted in Greece, and involving 700 men and 148 women with coronary heart disease, and 1078 age- and sex-matched healthy controls, this study looked not only at diet but also at alcohol intake, physical activity and smoking habits. Nutritional habits, including use of oils in daily cooking or preparation of food, was also evaluated.

Even after adjustments were made to account for a variety of other variables -- including body mass index, smoking, physical activity level, educational status, a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes -- exclusive use of olive oil was associated with a 47% lower likelihood of having coronary heart disease.

Consuming other fats or oils as well as olive oil, however, conferred no protection.

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

Practical Tips:

  • Instead of serving butter, fill a small condiment dish with extra virgin olive oil for use on bread, rolls, potatoes or other vegetables.
  • For even more flavor, try adding a few drops of balsamic vinegar or a sprinkling of your favorite spices to the olive oil.
  • To get the most health benefit and flavor from your olive oil, buy and store oil in opaque containers, and add olive oil to foods immediately after cooking.

Studies on olive oil and atherosclerosis reveal that particles of LDL cholesterol (the potentially harmful cholesterol) that contain the monounsaturated fats of olive oil are less likely to become oxidized. Since only oxidized cholesterol sticks to artery walls, eventually forming the plaques that can lead to a heart attack or stroke, preventing the 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 monocyte cells to the blood vessel lining, a process that is involved in the development of atherosclerosis. In addition, when people with high cholesterol levels removed the saturated fat from their diets and replaced it with olive oil, their total cholesterol levels dropped an average of 13.4%, and their LDL cholesterol levels dropped by 18%. Note, however, that these benefits occurred when they used olive oil in place of other fats, rather than simply adding olive oil to a diet high in unhealthy fats.

A study published in the Medical Science Monitor reported that 2 tablespoons a day of olive oil added to an otherwise unchanged diet in 28 outpatients, ranging in age from 64 to 71, resulted in significant drops in total- and LDL cholesterol. Mean concentrations of total cholesterol were lowered by 0.818 mmol/L, and mean concentrations of LDL dropped 0.782 mmol/L. Plus, subjects ratio of HDL:LDL greatly improved; they ended up with higher amounts of protective HDL in relation to lower amounts of dangerous LDL cholesterol.

Three other recent studies (Valavanidis et al.; Morella et al.; Masella et al., see references below) suggest that such heart-healthy effects from olive oil are due not only to its high content of monounsaturated fats, but also to its hefty concentration of antioxidants, including chlorophyll, carotenoids and the polyphenolic 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 olive oil.

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

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

  • completely preventing LDL's oxidation when placed in a medium containing macrophage-like cells (in the arteries, arteriosclerosis begins when macrophages damage LDL, starting the development of foam cells that infiltrate the lining of the artery and begin plaque formation)
  • inhibiting the production of two powerful oxidants that would normally have been produced and would have damaged LDL, thus preventing the expected decrease in glutathione, a powerful antioxidant the body produces to disarm oxidants (also called free radicals)
  • restoring to normal levels the protective activities of two free radical-disarming enzymes that contain glutathione: glutathione reductase and glutathione peroxidase
  • inducing higher than normal production and activity of both of these glutathione-containing enzymes.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1.00 tbs
14.00 grams
126.00 calories
NutrientAmountDV
(%)
Nutrient
Density
World's Healthiest
Foods Rating
World's Healthiest
Foods Rating
Rule
excellent DV>=75% OR Density>=7.6 AND DV>=10%
very good DV>=50% OR Density>=3.4 AND DV>=5%
good DV>=25% OR Density>=1.5 AND DV>=2.5%

source: read more

Information is from the www.whfoods.org. The website provides great and healthy whole food recipes by the not-for-profit George Mateljan Foundation. George Mateljan is the author of six best-selling books on the Healthiest Way of Eating.


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