Olive Oil

A Spanish study done a few years ago and published in the scientific journal, Diabetes Care, showed a Mediterranean style diet rich in olive oil reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes by almost 50 percent compared to a low fat diet.

Previous studies have shown that a Mediterranean-style diet rich in olive oil may prevent Type 2 Diabetes by improving blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, and blood lipid levels. Olive oil also helps to lower triglyceride levels, which is directly related to high blood sugar, and a key component to the development of heart disease.
Diets using ample amounts of olive oil improved adiponectin levels, thus reducing inflammation and heart attack risks. Adiponectin, a hormone produced in the body, and secreted by fat cells, regulates sugar and fat metabolism, improves insulin sensitivity, and has anti-inflammatory effects on the cells lining the blood vessel walls. Low blood levels of adiponectin are a marker for metabolic syndrome and pre-diabetes, and are also associated with increased heart attack risk.

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.
Three other recent studies 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. By reducing both inflammation and free radical damage, olive oil protects the lining of our blood vessels, helping to maintain its ability to relax and dilate, and helping reduce high blood pressure.
Olive oil varies greatly in taste and appearance depending on where it comes from. One scientist observed that the higher quality olive oils produced a throat-stinging sensation when swallowed. A compound in olive oil (oleocanthal), which is a powerful anti-inflammatory, actually works as well as medications like ibuprofen. To check for this anti-inflammatory, taste a spoonful of olive oil, and see how strongly it stings the back of the throat. The greater the sting, the greater the oleocanthal content.

We now know that a diet rich in monounsaturated fats like olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds, is very beneficial to our overall health. Today, most olive oil comes from Mediterranean areas in Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal and Turkey.
Olive oil varieties are a bit like wine, where different growing conditions, soil and weather dictate the taste, color and amount of polyphenols or antioxidants in the oil. Extra virgin olive oil is made from the crushing and the first cold pressing of olives. Extra virgin olive oil has the heartiest, fruitiest flavor and most health benefits.
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat; a type of fat that researchers are discovering has numerous significant health benefits. If you compare the Mediterranean diet, where olive oil is the main fat used, to the standard diet of the United States, where other fats such as animal fats, hydrogenated fats and highly processed vegetable oils like corn oil and soybean oil dominate, you will see some huge differences!

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