I am convinced, more than ever, that the way we choose to live dramatically effects our health and the quality of our lives. If we simply take a look at the facts, we can become more in touch with the influences of our day to day choices, especially with regard to healthy, quality foods.
What we put into our bodies has enormous health consequences both short and long term. There are many observational studies demonstrating that a Mediterranean diet and lifestyle provide tremendous health benefits including longevity and reduced rates of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, Type-2 Diabetes and other chronic diseases. In comparison, the opposite is true of a typical Western diet. It, in contrast, is associated with increased heart disease, increased cancers and soaring rates of Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus.
Key Component of Mediterranean Diet: Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is an integral component of a true Mediterranean Lifestyle. Fresh, high quality EVOO is high in monosaturated healthy fat, high in polyphenols and other antioxidants and trace elements providing valuable health benefits. The International Olive Oil Council maintains standards for these and other parameters of olive oils.
The primary fats consumed in a Western diet are saturated fats, predominantly from animal sources, and pro-inflammatory oils high in omega-6 fatty acids, derived from certain vegetables and seeds.
Medical evidence suggests that many of the health benefits associated with a Mediterranean diet are attributable to the daily use of EVOO (not oils from vegetables and seeds) and limited use of foods derived from animal products high in unhealthy saturated fat.
Health Benefits of High Quality EVOO:
- Improved Longevity5,6
- Decreased risk of Cardiovascular Disease,5,6,7,9 both heart attacks and strokes
- Decreased risk of breast cancer2 and other forms of cancer6 including colon and lung
- Improved blood pressure control5,6
- Reduction in belly fat compared to high carb diets3
- Monosaturated fats in EVOO have been shown to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol1,4,8
- Improved blood sugar control by increasing insulin sensitivity (and thus lowering insulin)
- Reduced inflammation by decreasing insulin levels
- Reduced oxidative damage of cells and reduced cholesterol8
- Improved clotting factors and cell function4,5
- Protective in age related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s Disease5
- Improvement in Metabolic Syndrome6
- Improvement in Blood Vessel Function5
- Antimicrobial activity4
- High in Polyphenols and Vitamin E, both of these antioxidants help maintain optimal health and slow the aging process by reducing the wear and tear on our cells.8
Awareness and Integration
This is just the beginning of our understanding of the benefits of EVOO. Awareness of these benefits, and applying this knowledge by increasing consumption of high quality EVOO, can provide huge health benefits.
However, just as in the nutraceutical business, there is much fraud and abuse in this industry. It is very important that we get the “real deal” to get optimal health benefits. Pure, fresh high quality EVOO is not as accessible as one might think. In a previous article, we discussed how corrupt olive oil manufacturing can be and how olive oil needs to be pressed and handled properly to maintain its freshness, integrity and, in turn, its health benefits. There is much data showing that many of the olive oils on the American market today are impure, low quality, past their prime and not as represented.
Ask us how you can better protect yourself and be assured you are getting what you are paying for. We have reference materials available in our office and will be providing future articles designed to enhance both knowledge and awareness.
It’s easy to get EVOO into our daily routine
Once you’ve assured yourself that you have good quality EVOOs on hand, there are so many ways to use them. There are those who drink a few tablespoons, straight, every day or drizzle it onto whatever food they may be eating. Here is an idea for a quick snack you can make:
Try this easy snack recipe: Take our CMMD Toast Parisien and top with our Garlic infused olive oil and Sicilian Lemon Balsamic vinegar. Or top with one of our Ultra-Premium EVOOs and your favorite herbs or spices, like cinnamon or Herbs de Provence.
You’ve Got to Live it!
2. Mark Wolk, Alicia, “A Prospective Study of Association of Monounsaturated Fat and Other Types of Fat With Risk of Breast Cancer,” Archives of Internal Medicine. http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/158/1/41
3. Manzella, Deborah, “A Diet Rich in MUFA’s Can Reduce Belly Fat,” About.com. http://diabetes.about.com/b/2008/01/13/mufa-rich-diet-can-reduce-belly-fat.htm
4. Cicerale, Sara et al, “Chemistry and Health of Olive Oil Phenolics” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition Vol 49 2008 Issue 3 pages 218- 236 published on-line 17 Dec 2008
5. Eur J Clin Invest. 2005 Jul;35(7):4214. International conference on the healthy effect of virgin olive oil. Perez Jimenez F , Alvarez de Cienfuegos G, Badimon L, Barja G, Battino M, Blanco A, Bonanome A, Colomer R, CorellaPiquer D, Covas I, ChamorroQuiros J, Escrich E, Gaforio JJ, Garcia Luna PP, Hidalgo L, Kafatos A, KrisEtherton PM, Lairon D, LamuelaRaventos R, LopezMiranda J, LopezSegura F, MartinezGonzalez MA, Mata P, Mataix J, Ordovas J, Osada J, PachecoReyes R, Perucho M, PinedaPriego M, Quiles JL, RamirezTortosa MC, RuizGutierrez V, SanchezRovira P, Solfrizzi V, SoriguerEscofetF, de la TorreFornell R,Trichopoulos A, VillalbaMontoro JM,
6. Br J Nutr. 2015 Apr;113 Suppl 2:S94101. doi: 10.1017/S0007114514003936.The role of olive oil in disease prevention: a focus on the recent epidemiological evidence from cohort studies and dietary intervention trials., Buckland G , Gonzalez CA ., JR, Visioli F.
7. Br J Nutr. 2015 Apr;113 Suppl 2:S1928. doi: 10.1017/S0007114515000136. Virgin olive oil: a key food for cardiovascular risk protection. Covas MI , de la Torre R , Fitó M .
8. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2009 May;79(3):15265.doi: 10.1024/03009822.214.171.124. Antioxidant activity of olive polyphenols in humans: a review. activity of olive polyphenols in humans: a review. Raederstorff D
9. The Sevens Countries Study A scientific adventure in cardiovascular disease epidemiology. Keys, Ancel et al