What are the health benefits of olive oil?
Olive oil, rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, is a major component of the Mediterranean diet.
Christian Nordqvist from medicalnewstoday.com writes up; populations from that region have longer life expectancies and lower risks of heart disease , high blood pressure and stroke , compared with North Americans and Northern Europeans.
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) are considered a healthy dietary fat, as opposed to saturated fats and trans fats.
What is olive oil?
Olive oil is a fat obtained from the fruit of the Olea europaea (olive tree), a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean region. Whole olives are pressed to produce this distinctive oil.
The oil is used in cosmetics, medicine, cooking, and soaps, and was also used as a fuel for traditional lamps. Olive oil originally came from the Mediterranean, but today it is used worldwide.
In the diet, olives can be eaten whole or chopped and added to pizzas and other dishes.
The oil can be used as a dip for bread, for frying, or as a salad dressing. Some people even consume it by the small glassful for medicinal purposes.
Over the last 50 years, many studies have looked at the health benefits of olive oil.
Olive oil and the cardiovascular system
Olive oil is the main source of dietary fat in the Mediterranean diet. There appears to be a lower death rate from cardiovascular diseases in the Mediterranean area, compared with other parts of the world.
A review of studies carried out in Barcelona, Spain, looked at the biological and clinical effects of olive oil.
Results suggested that people who regularly consume olive oil are less likely to develop cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke, and hyperlipidemia (high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels).
Frying with olive oil and heart disease risk
People who regularly eat foods fried in olive oil or sunflower oil do not have a higher risk of heart disease or premature death, researchers from Madrid, in Spain, reported in the BMJ.
The scientists surveyed 40,757 adults aged from 26 to 69 years over an 11-year period. They focused on cooking methods and dietary habits. None of the participants had heart disease when the study started.
Thanks to Christian Nordqvist and medicalnewstoday.com for this article.