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Gourmet Oil and Vinegar

Gourmet Oil and Vinegar

Olive Oil And The Healthy Mediterranean Diet

oil and vinegarHealth researchers have for years believed that the most important health promoting ingredient in virgin olive oil is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat. But if that were the case, then all monounsaturated fats — such as safflower oil and canola oil, would be just as healthy for the body. Repeated research suggests that olive oil is superior to other monounsaturated fats, and a group of European researchers now think they know why. Olive oil contains an abundance of polyphenols, plant substances that appear to also protect the heart, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Specifically, virgin olive oil has much higher amounts of polyphenals than refined oil olive. (nominal virgin olive oil comes from the first pressing of the olive fruit. Refined olive oil is derived from later pressings.)  As part of the study, 200 middle-aged men consumed about two tablespoons of virgin oil a day for three weeks. The men were then switched to various mixtures of non-virgin oils for similar periods.

The results revealed polyphenol-rich virgin olive oil did a better job at boosting the men’s level of “good cholesterol,” which clears artery-clogging fats from the bloodstream.

At the same time, it also seems to mitigate the potential harm done by “bad” cholesterol.

“Our study shows that olive oil is more than a monounsaturated fat . . . and the polyphenol content can account for the further [health] benefits,” according to the research team led by Maria-Isabel Covas at the Municipal Institute for Medical Research in Barcelona, Spain.

olive oil, health benefits of olive oil, oleic acid, polyphenols

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