Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Olive Oil Protects Against Ulcers

Posted on May 03 2010

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — People who eat a diet rich in oleic acid, which is found in olive oil and peanut oil as well as butter are less likely to develop ulcers, according to new research.
Researchers at University of East Anglia (UEA) School of Medicine in Norfolk, UK studied more than 25,000 people aged 40-65 between 1993 and 1997.

When researchers looked further into the participants’ diet they found that those with the highest intake of oleic acid had a 90 percent lower risk of developing ulcerative colitis.
“Oleic acid seems to help prevent the development of ulcerative colitis by blocking chemicals in the bowel that aggravate the inflammation found in this illness,” Dr. Andrew Hart with UEA’s School of Medicine was quoted as saying.

Researchers say that half of the cases of ulcerative colitis could have been prevented if larger intakes of oleic acid were consumed.

“Two to three tablespoons of olive oil per day would have a protective effect,” said Dr. Hart.


Maybe You Shouldn’t Do Something About That Cough

Posted on January 19 2011
By Tom Baker
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Buenos Aires

For years extra-virgin olive oil has been tasted and judged on its ability to produce a tingling or burning sensation in the back of the throat, the belief being that the more you cough, the better the quality of the oil. Now scientists have come up with evidence to support this method of tasting and to explain why it works.
In a paper published today in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers revealed that sensor molecules, located in the human throat but not the mouth, attach to a chemical found in high-end olive oils causing the very noticeable sensation.

The idea to study olive oil first occurred to the paper’s co-author Gary Beauchamp around 10 years ago when he was visiting Italy to attend a meeting on molecular gastronomy, an emerging field studying the physics and chemistry of cooking. A friend brought him some freshly pressed extra-virgin olive oil to taste and one sip caused “a very odd sensation,” said Beauchamp, director of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. ”It’s got this burn in the throat, but not in the mouth.”

The discovery not only qualifies an age-old tradition, but also furthers the conversation around olive oil’s health enhancing attributes. During the study researchers found that when crushed Ibuprofen was swallowed and came in contact with the throat, it created the same sensation as oleocanthal, the cough-inducing agent present in olive oil. Scientists now believe that their findings could shed further light on the development of anti-inflammatory drugs.

But why this sensation should be felt in the throat rather than the mouth wasn’t fully understood until researchers turned their attention to a specific flavor-sensing molecule named TRPA1, known to react to noxios pollutants and chemicals found in foods such as wasabi, mustard, and garlic.

Focusing on the TRPA1 molecule, scientists began tests to locate its presence within the body. In taking tissue biopsies from a number of volunteers, they found TRPA1 to be mostly absent from mouth and tongue tissue, but present in large quantities in the upper throat and nose, which was “…a big surprise,” Beauchamp said. Although other noxious chemicals are sensed by many different receptors, it seems that oleocanthal can only be detected by TRPA1 and it is because of this that it is most felt in the throat when high quality extra-virgin olive oils are sampled.

Beauchamp raised a related question, noting that humans have come to appreciate the “pain” from oleocanthal in olive oil, as if there is an inner knowledge that it is advantageous. “How this happens remains a fascinating puzzle,” he said.

TRPA1 also senses the chemically-unrelated ibuprofen, the team found. Beauchamp believes that it will be in understanding the correlation between the two diverse inflammation fighters that new leads in the development of better anti-inflammatory drugs could be found.


Olive Oil May Protect from Depression

Posted on January 26 2011
By Elena Paravantes, RD
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Athens

It is common knowledge that olive oil and the Mediterranean diet confer a multitude of health benefits. But what about emotional health benefits? According to Spanish researchers from the University of Navarra and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, a diet rich in olive oil can protect from mental illness. The study included 12,059 volunteers who were part of the SUN Project, a prospective study among Spanish university alumni, aimed to identify the dietary determinants of stroke, coronary disease and other disorders. The researchers followed these volunteers for over 6 years and gathered data on lifestyle factors such as diet as well as medical history. At the beginning of the study none of the volunteers suffered from depression, and by the end of the study, 657 new cases were detected.

The data that was gathered, revealed that volunteers that had a high intake of trans fats, a hydrogenated fat found mainly in processed foods, had up to 48 percent increased risk of depression compared to volunteers who did not consume these fats according to Almudena Sánchez-Villegas, Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and first author of the article. In addition, the researchers discovered that a higher intake of olive oil and polyunsaturated fats found in fatty fish and vegetable oils was associated with a lower risk of depression. According to the researchers these findings suggest that cardiovascular disease and depression may share some common mechanisms related to diet.

This is not the first time that olive oil and the Mediterranean diet are associated with lower rates of depression. In 2009, Spanish researchers once again discovered that individuals who followed a Mediterranean style diet rich in olive oil, vegetables, beans and fruit were 30 percent less likely to suffer from depression.

While the researchers point out certain limitations of the study, such as analyzing the diet only once (at the beginning of the study) they point out to several strengths such as a large sample size as well as multiple adjustments for potential confounders. They add that the findings need to be confirmed by further prospective studies and by trials.


Cooking With Olive Oil for Weight Loss

It’s easy to conclude that any fat will make you gain weight, but that’s not necessarily the case. Not all fats have the same effect on your body. Different fats interact with your body in different ways. Some, such as olive oil, can help you to stay slim.

Olive oil, which features prominently in Mediterranean diets, is a healthy fat that can help you lose weight. In many reviews of best weight loss diets, the top programs are Mediterranean or Mediterranean-inspired. People who follow these types of diets often eat plenty of fish and veggies, which they cook with olive oil.
If anywhere from a quarter to a third of the calories in this type of diet come from fat, how can its followers stay slender? A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition this July described how and why cooking with moderate amounts of olive oil can help you stay slim.

Monounsaturated Fats vs. Polyunsaturated Fats
Which type of fat a person eats is one of the biggest factors in whether he or she will gain weight. Monounsaturated fats are found in foods like nuts, avocados and olive oil. They’re healthier than polyunsaturated fats, which are contained in foods like red meat and sunflower oil.

The study compared participants’ cooking habits and their weight statistics. The researchers took samples of the cooking oils that the participants used and determined whether they prepared their meals with olive oil or sunflower oil. The participants who used more olive oil (or a mixture that included olive oil) were healthier than those who used sunflower oil.

People who consume fewer polyunsaturated fats and more monounsaturated fats—particularly olive oil—are much less likely to be obese than people who don’t. And even though people who like to cook with olive oil might take in a slightly higher number of calories than people who don’t, they still will have a far lower chance of being overweight.

What Does Olive Oil Do?
According to the study, the monounsaturated fats found in olive oil reduce the risk of obesity in three main ways:
Healthy fats help you feel full longer. The healthy fats in olive oil help to satisfy your hunger, so you’ll need to eat less (therefore consume fewer calories) throughout the day.

Olive oil breaks down fat. Olive oil increases the break down the fat that is stored in the fat cells that make up fatty body mass. This process is called lipolysis. An increase in the rate of lipolysis is necessary when you want to reduce the percentage of your body fat.

Regularly cooking with olive oil raises your metabolism. Olive oil provides a boost to your metabolic rate. With an elevated metabolism, you can burn more calories all the time—even when resting.

Olive Oil Helps Reduce Obesity
The study, which followed about 600 people of a wide range of ages, found that those who were regular consumers of olive oil weighed less than people who weren’t. Although both groups ate about the same number of calories, the people who prepared their meals with olive oil took in a higher ratio of mono-unsaturated to polyunsaturated fats. On the other hand, people who ate a greater proportion of polyunsaturated fats were much more likely to be obese.

Some people who follow a diet rich in olive oil could have different eating habits than those who don’t, including taking in more calories, but they’re still slimmer. They have a lower percentage of body fat, their metabolisms are higher, and they feel fuller after mealtime. Regularly cooking your meals with moderate amounts of olive oil could help you stay full, lose fat and burn more calories.

Article provided by Matt Papa is a biochemist who enjoys researching the benefits of-as well as cooking and eating- healthy food. In his leisure time he develops his website where he regularly posts a Medifast discount coupon, offered by a medically approved diet program, and coupons for Nutrisystem discount.


Extra Virgin Olive Oil Can Reduce Oxidative Stress

Posted on October 29 2010

A new study has revealed that extra-virgin olive oil can protect the liver from oxidative stress.
As part of the study, scientists exposed rats to a moderately toxic herbicide known to deplete antioxidants and cause oxidative stress, finding that those rats fed on a diet containing the olive oil were partially protected from the resulting liver damage.

Mohamed Hammami from the University of Monastir, Tunisia and King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, worked with a team of researchers to carry out the experiments in a group of 80 rats.

He said, “Olive oil is an integral ingredient in the Mediterranean diet. There is growing evidence that it may have great health benefits including the reduction in coronary heart disease risk, the prevention of some cancers and the modification of immune and inflammatory responses. Here, we’ve shown that extra virgin olive oil and its extracts protect against oxidative damage of hepatic tissue.”

The researchers separated the rats into a control group, an olive oil group, and 6 groups that were exposed to the herbicide ’2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid’ with or without either whole olive oil, or one of two oil extracts – the hydrophilic fraction or the lipophilic fraction. All rats given the herbicide showed signs of significant liver damage.

However, extra virgin olive oil and hydrophilic fraction intake induced a significant increase in antioxidant enzyme activity and a decrease in markers of liver damage.

Speaking about the results, Hammami said, “The hydrophilic fraction of olive oil seems to be the effective one in reducing toxin-induced oxidative stress, indicating that hydrophilic extract may exert a direct antioxidant effect on hepatic cells. However, more detailed studies about the effect of antioxidant compounds separately and/or their interactions are necessary to substantiate these observations.”

The study appeared in BioMed Central’s open access journal Nutrition and Metabolism.


Olive Oil Found to Help Prevent Skin Cancer

Posted on December 16 2010
By Christian Brazil Bautista
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Manila, Philippines

A study conducted by Dr. Niva Shapira from Tel Aviv University in Israel and Bob Kuklinski of Rockstock University in Germany found that olive oil, along with other components of a Mediterranean diet, may contribute to the prevention of malignant melanoma. Malignant melanoma, which is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, may be slowed down by consumption of olive oil, which is rich in antioxidants.

The research showed that the body develops a resistance to the damaging rays of the sun due to carotenoids. Carotenoids are the color pigments found in fruits and vegetables such as watermelons, tomatoes, pumpkins and carrots. Olive oil has also been found to protect the skin against the damaging effects of UV rays.

Olive oil, which is the only vegetable oil that can be taken as it is, contains high levels of antioxidatives and has monounsaturated fatty acids. Studies have also shown that olive oil prevents heart disease. It was found that olive oil controls the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) while raising the levels of good cholesterol (HDL). Due to its vitamin E contents, olive oil also provides cellular protection against free radicals. Olive oil aids in neutralizing free radicals, which leads to a lower risk for colon cancer. Regular consumption of olive oil may also lower the
risk of diabetes.

According to Dr. Shapira, the use of sunscreen remains the best way to prevent sunburn and shield the skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. However, In an interview with the Pakistan News Service, Dr. Shapira adds that “Going Greek,” or consuming olive oil and other Mediterranean food staples, could help counter the oxidizing effect of the sun. Her statement is strengthened by statistics that show that only three in every 100,000 residents of countries in the Mediterranean develop any form of skin cancer. The figure is low, especially when considering the warm climate in the region. In Australia, the figure is 50 in every 100,000 residents.


Health Benefits of Olive Oil

by Gayle A. Alleman

In addition to the wonderful flavor it adds to your food, olive oil is also one of nature’s healing wonders. This liquid gold works to keep hearts healthy, may reduce inflammation and the risk of certain cancers, and might even play a role in controlling diabetes and weight. This is because olive oil is a monounsaturated fat, which lowers bad cholesterol without affecting good cholesterol. In this article you’ll learn how to use olive oil to improve your health. Here’s a quick preview:

Olive Oil Health Basics

Olive trees first grew in the Mediterranean region thousands of years ago. They have spread to all areas of the world as the health benefits of olive oil have become well documented. It just so happens that nature provided dietary fats in the olive in the exat ratio that human beings need them. On this page you’ll learn about different dietary fats and why the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats in olives are beneficial.

Heart Benefits From Olive Oil

It seems like a simple change, but switching from saturated fats to monounsaturated fat to prepare your food can produce big benefits. Researchers have shown that the phytochemicals in olive oil can fight cholesterol and prevent heart disease. On this page you’ll learn why “thinning” the blood with phytochemicals produces these health benefits.

Inflammation Benefits From Olive Oil

Inflammation is the immune system’s first line of defense against injury and infection. It’s a natural process that is designed to heal. But too much of a good thing can be painful and ultimately harmful to the body, even going so far as causing organ damage and diabetes. Fortunately, olive oil has a compound called oleocanthal that controls inflammation. Learn more about inflammation and why olive oil keeps it in check on this page.

Cancer Benefits From Olive Oil

There once was a time when medical researchers linked various cancers to the amount of fat in our diets. Now, many believe that the type of fat is more important than the amount. There is plenty of controversy and much research left to be done on the role olive oil may play in the fight against cancer. But some people believe it can lower your risk of colon, prostate, and breast cancer, and on this page you’ll learn why.

Diabetes Benefits From Olive Oil

Diabetes causes severe spikes and drops in blood sugar levels, so people with this disease have to be very careful to maintain blood sugar. One way to do this is to eat a diet low in carbohydrates. Now, some researchers are starting to think that a diet high in monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, is even more effective. On this page you’ll learn about the latest research on how to use olive oil to manage diabetes.

Weight-Loss Benefits From Olive Oil

Carrying too much weight is a condition that goes hand-in-hand with high levels of cholesterol, heart disease, and other ailments. But there’s good news: Merely switching to monounsaturated fats, which also work against those other diseases, will in itself help you lose a few pounds. Add a regular regimen of exercise and you’re well on your way to your proper weight. Find out how to use olive oil in your overall weight loss effort on this page.


Olive Oil and the battle against Alzheimer’s disease

By Terriann

Olive Oil may one day prove to be crucial in the battle against Alzheimer’s disease!

Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia, is a degenerative brain disease that not only makes us forget basic information including our identity and the names of our friends and family, but it is also fatal. Alzheimer’s disease currently affects approximately 5.3 million people in the United States and is the 7th leading cause of death in this country. Unfortunately, there is presently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and no way to predict how quickly the disease will progress. Alzheimer’s destroys brain cells, leading to memory loss and to altered behavior and thoughts, affecting social interactions and daily activities. However, even with such a dismal outlook, there is a universal endeavor to find improved treatments to deter the rise of this horrible illness.

In a recent study published in the medical journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Dr Jason Pitt and colleagues from the Northwestern University, the University of Pennsylvania, Western Illinois University and Rutgers University in the US and the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil explored the chemical called oleocanthal which protects brain cells and is derived from olive oil. This study explored the effects of oleocanthal on substances thought to be involved in the disease.

Oleocanthal has been shown in past studies to act as a natural anti-inflammatory that works like ibuprofen, and could be extracted along with other related molecules in the development of future drugs used to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease.

Research found that exposing nerve cells to oleocanthal better protected them from the effects of toxins that injure or obliterate nerve cells.

“One in 10 people over 65 [years old] has Alzheimer’s disease,” said neurologist and nanotechnologist William Klein, a Northwestern University professor of neurobiology and physiology.

He is also a researcher at the university’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center. Alzheimer’s disease “is a tragedy for the families who are involved, and it’s an extraordinary cost,” said Klein. “It is the third most costly disease, with an annual cost to the U.S. economy of over $150 billion. Families spend an average of $42,000 per year” for the treatment and care for someone coping with this illness.

Researchers at Columbia University in New York have also uncovered a connection between certain foods eaten daily and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s. Yian Gu, a specialist in Alzheimer’s research, led a team of scientists who discovered that a diet full of Mediterranean foods such as olive oil, nuts, poultry and fish show remarkable results in protecting against this degenerative disease. Preventative measures are all the more crucial since no cure has been found yet. Gu commented on the research, saying, “Diet is probably the easiest way to modify disease risk.” Since over 26 million people globally are afflicted by the disease, making some simple dietary changes could make a vast difference to the frequency of this incapacitating condition.

It is still unclear what the direct implications of these findings are to prevent Alzheimer’s but it is certainly a step in the right direction. Adding olive oil, along with other heart-healthy foods, to your diet is a simple matter but one that could save you and your family the heartache that this devastating disease can cause.

I hope you enjoyed this article and as always STAY HEALTHY!

Olive oil and its effects on cardiovascular (heart) disease

By Terriann

According to World Health Report, 16.7 million deaths were caused by cardiovascular disease in 2003. Cardiovascular disease, also called heart disease, is a compilation of various conditions or diseases that can affect the heart. It continues to be the leading cause of death of both men and women in the United States and in most of the world. Many of these deaths could have been avoided by choosing to make lifestyle changes including a healthier diet. Several recent studies have been conducted that suggest that extra virgin olive oil, the primary source of fat in the Mediterranean diet, is especially healthy for your heart in numerous ways.

Olive oil has been shown to provide many health benefits that can be contributed to the high content of both monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidative substances. Research has shown that olive oil offers some defense against cardiovascular disease by lowering harmful LDL cholesterol levels while elevating beneficial HDL levels. You may have noticed the label on your last purchase of olive oil states: Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about two tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil. To achieve this possible benefit, olive oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day.

When olive oil was added daily for a week, it has shown to result in lower oxidation of LDL cholesterol and advanced levels of antioxidant compounds, predominantly polyphenols, in the blood.

All types of olive oil contain monounsaturated fat, but because extra virgin olive oil is made from the first pressing of the olives and is the least processed, it contains the highest levels of antioxidants, primarily vitamin E and phenols.
In one study, Dr Juan Ruano and colleagues from Mount Sinai School of Medicine compared the effect of consuming phenol-rich olive oil against olive oil with the majority of its phenol content removed. It was tested on 21 volunteers that had high cholesterol which is a known risk factor for heart disease. The first several hours after a meal containing high-phenol olive oil, blood vessel response and function showed improvement. In contrast, no improvement was evident after the low-phenol oil meal.

Co-researcher Dr Francisco Perez Jimenez, of the Hospital Universitario Reina Sofia in Cordoba, said: “This is the first study that shows a direct benefit of an olive oil with high content in phenolic compounds on endothelial function in vivo…Virgin olive oil is more than fat because it is a real juice with other healthy micronutrients.” Brigid McKevith, senior nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation, stated: “It’s an interesting study as it may help explain some of the benefits associated with olive oil other than its effect on blood cholesterol levels.”

    Try these great ideas for including more olive oil in your daily diet:

  • Drizzle olive oil on your favorite salad as dressing
  • Immerse bits of whole grain bread in a bowl of olive oil infused with pepper and oregano or other spices
  • Lightly spritz olive oil over vegetables in place of butter
  • Prepare pesto and serve over the pasta of your choice
  • Make your own cranberry vinaigrette for greens
  • Create fabulous custom oils by infusing them with rosemary or other favorite dried herbs

I hope you enjoyed this article and as always STAY HEALTHY!

Olive Oil and Breast Cancer

By Terriann

Did you know that on average, 1 in 8 women are affected by breast cancer sometime in their lifetime? In 2010, an estimated 207,090 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States alone.

Can we prevent breast cancer by changing our eating habits and behaviors?  Recent studies show that one of the natural ways to combat breast cancer is consistently eating healthy including the use of extra virgin olive oil.

Scientists, including Dr. Eduard Escrich, from the University at Autonoma in Barcelona have recently conducted preliminary testing using rats that had carcinogen-stimulated breast cancer.  The rats were fed one of three diets – olive oil, high corn oil, or a restricted diet.  The researchers found that the tumors in the rats that were fed an olive oil diet grew much slower than the other two diets.

Based on their findings, they say that olive oil “thwarts the gene that drives the growth of breast cancer tumors, it switches off proteins that the cancer cells rely on in order to grow and multiply and it protects the DNA from damage that can lead to cancer.”  In fact, they have shown that molecules in this antioxidant monounsaturated fat actually fight tumors, slowing their growth, in some cases, even causing them to implode. Although preliminary tests have produced successful results in rats only, Dr. Eduard Escrich said, “Even though caution must be exercised when applying experimental data to human breast cancer, our findings emphasize the importance that certain dietetic habits may have on cancer promotion.”

The researchers, who plan to implement a comparable trial in human beings, have concluded that only uninterrupted daily intake of olive oil will provide these results. It is recommended that adding 10 teaspoons of high-quality, extra virgin olive oil daily would provide the most benefit. For thousands of years the Mediterranean diet, which recommends a lower intake of  red meat and dairy, focuses on ingesting more fruit, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and olive oil, is considered to include the best selection of foods to help prevent cancer and could even lead to weight loss.

Obesity is also a risk factor for cancer and excessive body mass is linked to a reappearance of cancer cells along with other persistent illnesses. A diet which includes the use of high quality extra virgin olive oil will lead to a decrease in triglyceride levels and higher HDL cholesterol levels providing more resistance against the return of breast cancer. Olive oil is a holistic way to prevent and battle breast tumors but it is also a healthy fat that should be incorporated into the diets of both females and males since it can help the body fight disease naturally without potentially harmful surgery or medication.

Fortunately, adding olive oil to a meal is basic and simple. Olive oil can be used as a substitute for butter to coat the pan when cooking or drizzled on food to augment the natural flavors. Taking a look at all of the health benefits to adding olive oil to your daily diet makes it not only a wise, but also an appetizing choice.

    5 Ways to include Olive Oil in your diet:

  • Substitue Extra Virgin Olive Oil instead of butter
  • Marinate chicken in olive oil
  • Lightly coat meat before grilling
  • Add lightly to dips like hummus
  • Use olive oil instead of vegetable oil for baking

I hope you enjoyed this article and as always STAY HEALTHY!