Does Olive Oil Have Magical Properties?

Published: 23rd February 2010
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Eating a Mediterranean diet heavy in extra virgin olive oil can provide you with some major health benefits. Benefits ranging from lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing inflammation and pain from Rheumatoid Arthritis, to protection from heart disease, peptic ulcer disease, and even some types of cancer.



That's great you say but you want to know a few things first, like what is a Mediterranean diet and where is the proof?



A Mediterranean diet is a model of the traditional diet of sixteen countries that border the Mediterranean Basin, especially those of Southern Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Spain, and Portugal. Their diets contain large quantities of vegetables, fruits, bread, cereals, fish, and of course olive oil, as well as daily servings of red wine but in moderation.



Now lets look at the proof. Studies support the claims that extra virgin olive oil has health benefits. We will look at a couple of those studies here, you can certainly look at others using the sources listed at the end of this article.



Lets look at olive oil and heart disease first. Studies have allowed scientist to pin down the constituent of olive oil that gives the greatest protection from heart disease including a second heart attack. DHPEA-EDA protects red blood cells from damage more than any other part of the olive oil even at low concentrations. (1)



The second study we will look at is olive oil and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Researchers have found that extra virgin olive oil combined with fish oil helps relieve stiffness and pain associated with arthritis. The component oleocanthal in olive oil prevents the production of pro-inflammatory cox1 and cox2 enzymes the way NSAIDS do. (2)



The last study we are going to highlight is on cancer and olive oil in which researchers documented how phenolic compounds extracted directly from extra virgin olive oil were effective against both HER2 positive and HER2 negative breast cancer cells. This is very significant in that HER2positive is malignant breast cancer that test positive for human epidermal growth factor receptor2 (HER2) a protein that promotes the growth of cancer cells and makes it more aggressive than other types of breast cancer and less responsive to treatment. The research confirms that polyphenois found in extra virgin olive oil not only inhibits the activity of cancer promoting HER2 but also promotes the proteins degradation. (3)





In conclusion the benefits of the Mediterranean diet are likely due to the healthy physiological effects of virgin olive oil that include preventing oxidative damage, quells inflammation, regulating platelet and cellular functions, and fighting infections. Does this mean you can stop taking your medications? No, you should never stop taking medications unless advised to do so by your doctor. Will this diet and olive oil help along with your medications, yes we believe the studies show that it will help.





Sources:

Diet and Coronary Heart Disease (Willett WC 1990)

World Health Organization Diet Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Disease

European Journal of Chronic Disease (April 2002 )

Experimental Study of a Mediterranean Diet Intervention For Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (annals of rheumatic disease 2003)

Dietary Fish Oil & Olive Oil Supplementation in People With Rheumatoid Arthritis: Clinical & Immunologic Effects (arthritis & rheumatism 1990)

Study of The Major Antioxidants Of Olive Oil(biological research 2004)

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