MENU
 

More Health and Nutrition Bites

Take-out vs. made-from-scratch: weighing and pricing the options 05/23/18
How NOT to do science: very low carbohydrate diets and Type 1 diabetes 05/16/18
Low energy density foods keep you satisfied (and may help you lose weight) 05/09/18
Fish also good for diabetics: confirming conventional wisdom 05/02/18
Putting calories and sodium information on restaurant menus may backfire 04/25/18
The next step in the fight against heart disease: teaching medical students how to cook 04/18/18
Omega-3 supplements may not guard against heart attack 04/11/18
Pasta still won't make you gain weight 04/04/18
Testing resveratrol and curcumin as anti-inflammatories 03/28/18
Should you consume additional protein to help maintain muscle mass? 03/21/18
It's the quality of the carbohydrates that counts 03/14/18
B vitamin supplements linked to lung cancer 03/07/18
Genetically-based weight loss plans 02/28/18
Eating more highly processed foods linked to greater risk of cancer 02/21/18
Can you be fit and fat? 02/14/18
'Burning hot' tea linked to esophageal cancer 02/07/18
All Health and Nutrition Bites

 

 


 

Health & Nutrition Bites

Get the latest health and diet news - along with what you can do about it - sent to your Inbox once a week. Get Dr. Gourmet's Health and Nutrition Bites sent to you via email. Sign up now!

Some Olive Oils are Better For You Than Others

One of the current theories regarding heart disease is that it's at least partially caused by a chronic level of low-grade inflammation in the body. Olive oil, as part of the style of eating known as the Mediterranean Diet, is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. This is often attributed to olive oil's high amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids.

It's not just the monounsaturated fatty acids that are the healthy component of olive oil, however: it also contains high amounts of substances called phenolic compounds, which are powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are known to help combat that low-grade inflammation which is suspected to contribute to heart disease.

Researchers in Barcelona, Spain, noted that virgin (unrefined) olive oils contain more phenolic compounds than refined olive oils. As part of a larger study on olive oil, twenty-eight men and women participated in a comparison of the effects of virgin olive oil and refined olive oil on the measures of inflammation in the body (Euro J Clin Nutr 2008; 62:570-74).

The subjects were randomly assigned to one of two groups in what is known as a crossover study: the participants in one group were given 50 ml of virgin olive oil every day for three weeks, while the second group were given the same amount of refined olive oil. Each three-week testing period was followed by a two-week “washout” period, during which both groups consumed refined olive oil. Then the groups switched types of olive oil and the five-week testing period was repeated. All of the subjects had their blood tested for various inflammatory markers at the beginning and end of each testing period.

They found that those who were consuming virgin olive oil instead of refined olive oil had a much lower level of inflammatory markers than those who were consuming refined olive oils.

What this means for you

We know that olive oils are better for you than other fats, and now we know that the best olive oil seems to be virgin olive oil. I love it because of its light, fruity flavor. Drizzle it on your salad with some balsamic vinegar. Delicious!

Eat well, eat healthy, enjoy life!

Timothy S. Harlan, M.D.
Dr. Gourmet