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People find that not only does our olive oil taste great, but is also beneficial towards their health. Olives contain natural disease-fighting polyphenols and antioxidant vitamin E. Olive oil may also be effective in fighting heart disease and for reducing the risk of cancer. Replacing saturated fat with an equal amount of olive oil may achieve these possible health benefits.
Extra virgin olive oil contains a chemical called hydroxytyrosol, a powerful polyphenol that is attributed to possible cardiac and anti-inflammatory benefits. All extra virgin olive oils contain hydroxytyrosol. This chemical has the capacity to inhibit the growth of certain tumor cells so it has been suggested that it also may have anticancer effects. The presence of polyphenols is measured by polyphenol counts. Good extra virgin olive oil polyphenol counts range from 100 to 250.
Olive oil is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats. The predominant monounsaturated fatty acid in olive oil is oleic acid which makes up about 75% of the total oil content. About 14% of the oil is saturated fat, whereas 11% is polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Oleic acid along with the powerful polyphenols found in extra virgin olive oil may be very effective against inflammation, heart disease and cancer.
US News and World Report in collaboration with a panel of health experts evaluated and ranked 41 diets. To be top-rated, a diet had to “be safe, relatively easy to follow, nutritious and effective for weight loss”. It also had to be proven to help prevent heart disease and diabetes. The top ranking number 1 diet in the US News list of diets was The Mediterranean Diet.
The Mediterranean Diet is based on traditional foods that people eat in countries such as Italy and Greece since 1960. Olive oil is a prime ingredient of the Mediterranean Diet as a source of healthy monounsaturated fat. Using extra virgin olive oil preserves the taste, aroma and vitamins of the olive fruit. Additionally, vegetables, fruits and nuts as well as grains, bread, herbs and spices and seafood are integral parts of the Mediterranean Diet. The diet is instrumental in preventing heart disease and diabetes. Its recipes are simple yet nutritious and effective for weight loss.