Extra virgin olive oil and Health

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Extra virgin olive oil is particularly rich in the phenolic antioxidants as well as squalene and oleic acid, and high consumption of the foregoing in the diet provides considerable protection against colon, breast and skin cancer, coronary heart disease and aging by inhibiting oxidative stress. Research has shown that scavenging of the hydroxyl radical was significantly higher among extracts of olive oil. This effect was only minimal in seed oils. In addition to their direct antioxidant capacity, extracts of olive oil are also potent inhibitors of xanthine oxidase activity. A constant high olive oil intake in the diet, especially extra virgin olive oil, provides a constant supply of antioxidants. This may reduce oxidative stress through inhibition of lipid peroxidation, a factor that is currently linked to a host of diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

A recent paper published by Dr. Chopra’s research group at the Northern Ireland Center for Diet and Health, University of Ulster, had some interesting conclusions.
Health benefits from lycopene in tomato products have been suggested to be related to its antioxidant activity. Dietary fat may influence the absorption and hence the antioxidant activity of lycopene. The study compared the effect of consumption of tomato products with extra-virgin olive oil versus sunflower oil. The different oils did not affect the absorption of the lycopene into the body, but the tomato/olive oil combination generated increased plasma antioxidant activity by around 20%. Therefore one conclusion drawn from the research was that it would seem that consumption of tomato products with olive oil, but not with sunflower oil, improves the antioxidant activity of the plasma.

Researchers are faced with the question of whether the combination of tomato and olive oil does something synergistically, or whether the beneficial antioxidant effects areThere is a low incidence of skin cancer caused by olive oil alone. Extra virgin olive oil is particularly rich in the phenolic antioxidants as well as squalene and oleic acid, and high consumption of the foregoing in the diet provides considerable protection against colon, breast and skin cancer, coronary heart disease and aging by inhibiting oxidative stress. Research has shown that scavenging of the hydroxyl radical was significantly higher among extracts of olive oil. This effect was only minimal in seed oils. In addition to their direct antioxidant capacity, extracts of olive oil are also potent inhibitors of xanthine oxidase activity. A constant high olive oil intake in the diet, especially extra virgin olive oil, provides a constant supply of antioxidants. This may reduce oxidative stress through inhibition of lipid peroxidation, a factor that is currently linked to a host of diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

There is a low incidence of skin cancer among Mediterranean populations, and olive oil consumption could be a contributing factor to this low cancer rate. Olive oil contains significantly higher amounts of squalene than seed oils, and squalene is to a large extent transferred to the skin. German researchers believe that this transfer mechanism is probably accomplished by scavenging singlet oxygen generated by ultraviolet light. Japanese scientists also claim that virgin olive oil applied to the skin after sunbathing could protect against skin cancer by slowing tumor growth.

“New Italian research finds olive oil contains antioxidants, similar to those in tea and red wine, that combat disease processes, including LDL cholesterol’s ability to clog arteries.”
Jean Carper, leading authority on health and nutrition, an award winning correspondent for CNN, author of “The Food Pharmacy” and “Food-Your Miracle Medicine” and a nationally syndicated column

“I love the whole idea of olive oil’s versatility. I use it for baking, as well as salad dressings and sautйing. Olive Oil has been around for a long time, and the more we know about it, the more we learn about its great contribution to good health.”
Pat Baird, dietician and nutrition consultant,
author of “The Pyramid Cookbook: Pleasures of the Food Guide Pyramid”

“American women might actually experience as much as a fifty percent (50%) reduction in breast cancer risk if they consumed more olive oil in place of saturated fats.”
Dr. Dimitrios Trichopoulos, chairman of the Department of Epidemiology,
Harvard University School of Public Health

“I like the taste of olive oil. And, because olive oil is so flavorful, a little goes a long way while cooking, which is great for people like me who watch their fat intake.”
Dr. Barbara Levine, director of the Nutrition Information Center
at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center
and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

“Olive oil has a protective effect against some types of malignant tumors: prostate, breast, colon, squamous cell, and oesophageal.”
Dr. Dimitrios Trichopoulos, chairman of the Department of Epidemiology,
Harvard University School of Public Health

“Olive oil has been shown to strengthen the inmune system in mice. Diets high in olive oil do not suppress lymphoblastogenesis, CD11a and CD18, and increase expression and capping of CD44 and CD25.”
D. Peck
School of Medicine
University of Miami

“In vitro and in vivo (in animals), the minor polar components of extra virgin olive oil increase significantly the resistance of LDL to oxidation.”
Bruno Berra
Facolta di Farmacia
Milan

“An ‘American version’ of the Mediterranean Diet was developed meeting all the nutritional guidelines of the United States. The feasibility and acceptability of the diet amongst healthy American adults and subjects who had recently survived a myocardial infartion were very good”
R. Curtis Ellison
Boston University School of Medicine

“Olive oil prevents insulin resistance and ensures better control of the glucose in the blood.”
A.A. Rivellese, G. Riccardi, M. Mancini
Institute of Internal Medicine and Metabolism Disease
University of Federico II
Naples

“Dietary intake of olive oil polyphenols may lower the risk of reactive oxygen metabolite-mediated diseases such as some gastrointestinal diseases and atherosclerosis. Olive oil hydroxytyrosol protects human erythrocytes against oxidative damage.”
Patrizia Galletti
Facolta di Medicina e Chirurgia
Seconda Universita degli Studi di Napoli
Naples

“A diet in which virgin olive oil is the only source of fat causes less peroxidation of the lipids in the subcellular membrane. Attention is drawn to the greater part played by the saponifiable fraction of the oil and to the absence of effects caused by the polyphenol fraction, as well as to the cardiac antioxidant role of coenzyme Q10.”
Jose Mataix Verdu
Jesus Rodriguez Huertas
Instituto de Nutricion y Tecnologia de Alimentos
Universidad de Granada

“An olive-oil-rich diet is more effective than a low-fat diet in controlling and treating obesity. Moreover, it leads to longer-lasting weight loss and it is easier to keep to because it tastes good.”
Frank Sacks
Harvard School of Public Health

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