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Benefits of Olive Oil in your Diet

pexels-photo-186696Benefits of Olive Oil in your Diet
Ken Patterson, MD

Olive oil has gotten a lot of press lately (pun intended). What’s the big deal? Why should I include olive oil in my diet?

Let me count the ways…

1. It reduces the risk of heart disease. The monounsaturated fats in olive oil help to balance HDL and LDL cholesterol in a positive way. Additionally, olive oil helps to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol which keeps the cholesterol from sticking in your arteries. And, it helps keep platelets from sticking together, helping to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

2. It is part of an anti-inflammatory diet. The 9 polyphenols in olive oil reduce inflammation in our bodies, and inflammation is one of the main causes of decreased quality and length of life. Extra virgin olive oil contains a substance called oleocanthal, which has anti-inflammatory agents. The compound acts in the same way as ibuprofen to stifle components of a pain pathway called the prostaglandin system. Research increasingly suggests inflammation impacts a number of chronic diseases, so olive oil’s anti-inflammatory properties grow more compelling all the time.

3. Olive oil supports digestive health. Digestive tract cancers occur at lower rates in countries with high olive oil intake and olive oil inhibits Helicobacter, a bacterium which increases the risk of reflux and ulcers. It also decreases the risk of breast and respiratory tract cancers.

4. Consumption of olive oil enhances cognitive function, especially among older adults. A recent study demonstrated that visual memory and verbal fluency and be improved with “intensive use” of olive oil. Studies in lab animals shows that olive oil helps to offset functional problems caused by brain damage. Olive oil is high in essential brain vitamins, including E and K. This works to maintain a good memory, slow memory loss and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

5. Eating extra virgin olive oil being a part of a balanced diet may help prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.

6. A diet rich in extra virgin olive oil may enhance greater and longer lasting weight loss results than a low-fat diet. Contrary to the belief that a low-fat diet is the most effective one, studies have shown that olive oil may, in fact, help you lose weight. It can control hunger pangs by keeping you full for longer periods of time and also reduces sugar cravings.

7. Some research has suggested that olive oil may trigger higher levels of serotonin which is vital for mental health. Additionally, in one of the research studies, Spanish researchers discovered that subjects who followed a Mediterranean style diet rich in olive oil, vegetables, beans and fruit were 30% less likely to suffer from depression.

8. The fatty acids in olive oil have been reported to play an important part in various immune functions. They are involved in regulating inflammatory processes and they may be effective in the treatment of some autoimmune diseases and in the regulation of the immune system in general.

9. Olive oil supplementation was found to positively affect the thickness of bones. It is very important to include sources of calcium in your diet. Olive oil helps in the absorption of calcium in your body. In the Mediterranean, where the diet is traditionally rich in olive oil, there are fewer cases of osteoporosis.
So, if you’re not convinced at this point about including a generous amount of olive oil in your diet, you need to stop and go back and re-read the above – it’s pretty convincing. Now, on to the practical questions.

How much olive oil do I need?

Answer: 1-3 tablespoons a day, or more.

What kind of olive oil should I take and where should I buy it?

Answer: Ultra premium extra virgin olive oil, buy (and find out why) at

Which brings us to the final point – join us at Cordell’s for an informative dinner seminar and an introduction to their products on Thursday, February 2nd. Call 704-5069 or click over to to reserve spots for yourself and friends.

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