Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

Extra virgin olive oil curbs inflammation in nearly 100 different ways, study reports

Reprinted from the Health Sciences Institute website, August 22, 2011:

Spanish researchers believe they’ve broken the code—a genetic code, in fact.

And not only does it appear to be the secret to why olive oil is so heart-healthy, it might also be the key reason Mediterranean dieters live long, robust lives.

Twenty subjects with metabolic syndrome consumed meals that included either a high-phenol olive oil or a lowphenol olive oil.

….Phenols contain biologically active compounds that are remarkably high in antioxidants. Olive oil phenols are most highly concentrated in extra virgin olive oil, which is made from cold-pressed olives—no heat or chemicals are used in refining.

Results of the Spanish study showed that the high-phenol extra virgin olive oil repressed the inflammatory activity of nearly 100 genes that play a key role in prompting inflammation.

In the journal BMC Genomics, the authors note that their results provide a likely explanation for the reduced risk of heart disease among those who follow a Mediterranean diet.

Study cited in article: Camargo A, et al. Gene expression changes in mononuclear cells in patients with metabolic syndrome after acute intake of phenol-rich virgin olive oil. BMC Genomics. 2010;11:253.

“Hugely Important” New Study Hails Olive Oil and Mediterranean Diet

 The following article by Andrea Petersen is reprinted from The Wall Street Journal,  February 26, 2013.

Olive Oil Diet Curbs Strokes

A diet common in coastal areas of Southern Europe, particularly one with lots of olive oil and nuts, cuts the risk of stroke and other major cardiovascular problems by 30 percent among high-risk people, according to a new study.

There’s a large body of research linking a Mediterranean diet—one heavy on fruits, vegetables, fish and beans—to heart health. But this study, published Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine, is significant both for its size—it followed 7,447 people in Spain over almost 5 years—and its scientific rigor. Few previous studies have succeeded in proving a direct link between a diet and a reduction in life-threatening events like strokes, instead assessing the diet’s impact only on weight loss or certain cardiovascular risk factors, like blood pressure or cholesterol.

“I’m going to change my own diet; add some more olive oil, some more nuts.”
—Dr. Steven Nissen, chairman of the department of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic

The study is “hugely important,” says Steven Nissen, chairman of the department of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, who was not involved in the study. Dr. Nissen notes that the preventive effect of the diet is similar to the effect of taking statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs, which research has shown to reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events by about 25 percent to 30 percent. “What we can say to patients is this very palatable Mediterranean diet looks to be healthiest. I’m going to change my own diet; add some more olive oil, some more nuts.” ….

The benefit demonstrated by the Mediterranean diet was so striking, the study was stopped early. Clinical trials are sometimes halted early to allow all participants to switch to a clearly beneficial treatment.

Study Concludes: Extra Virgin Olive Oil May Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease

 The following article is reprinted from the website Science2.0. The original research was published in ACS Chemical Neuroscience, Feburary 15, 2013

Consumption of extra virgin olive oil has been linked to reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and its benefit may lie in one component of olive oil that helps shuttle the abnormal AD proteins out of the brain.

Alzheimer’s disease affects about 30 million people worldwide but the prevalence is lower in Mediterranean countries—thus the correlation with olive oil. Scientists once attributed it to the high concentration of healthful monounsaturated fats in olive oil, which is consumed in large amounts in the Mediterranean diet.

Recent research also suggested that the actual protective agent might be a substance called oleocanthal, which has effects that protect nerve cells from the kind of damage that occurs in AD. [The University of Louisiana research] team sought evidence on whether oleocanthal helps decrease the accumulation of beta-amyloid (Aβ) in the brain, believed to be the culprit in AD.

In their paper, Amal Kaddoumi and colleagues describe tracking the effects of oleocanthal in the brains and cultured brain cells of laboratory mice used as stand-ins for humans in such research. In both instances, oleocanthal showed a consistent pattern in which it boosted production of two proteins and key enzymes believed to be critical in removing Aβ from the brain.

“Extra-virgin olive oil-derived oleocanthal associated with the consumption of Mediterranean diet has the potential to reduce the risk of AD or related neurodegenerative dementias,” the report concludes.

Dr. Oz: Olive Oil Just Got Better

 The following article by Dr. Mehmet Oz and Michael Roizen is excerpted from the Washington Examiner,  December 28, 2012

Olive Oyl may have been Popeye’s one and only, but we doubt he could have loved her any more than we adore olive oil—another of the odd omega monounsaturated fats. This one is mainly omega-9, and it’s the secret sauce in the tasty and good-for-you Mediterranean diet. And now, a bushel of recently revealed benefits makes us want to exclaim: “Olive ya’ forever!”

It’s great for your bones. In one brand-new report, guys who ate lots of fruit and veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy products along with olive oil had higher levels of osteocalcin—a protein that keeps bones and teeth strong—compared with guys on a low-fat diet who didn’t use olive oil.

Protects you from silent strokes. Symptom-free mini-strokes can lead to dementia—and bigger, more disabling brain attacks. Olive oil to the rescue: In one report, brain scans showed enjoying this good stuff (drizzled on salad greens, used to sauté chicken and broccoli) lowered the odds for silent strokes by more than 35 percent.

Way less risk of heart disease. Enjoying two tablespoons of olive oil a day could lower your odds for deadly heart disease by a whopping 44 percent. Even one tablespoon a day can slash your risk by 28 percent, says another new report.

Controls blood-sugar levels. Polyphenols in olive oil help your body process blood sugar more efficiently—and could even help you avoid Type 2 diabetes. If you do have diabetes, regular use of olive oil can make it easier to manage blood glucose levels and possibly reduce the amount of blood-sugar-controlling medication you need to take.

Guards against cancer. Making the big “double O” your go-to oil could protect you against respiratory and digestive-system cancers and reduce a woman’s risk for breast cancer by 38 percent.

What makes olive oil such a health-booster? For starters, 55 percent to 80 percent of the fat in olive oil is oleic acid — an omega-9 fatty acid that lowers bad LDL cholesterol, boosts good HDLs, puts blood sugar on an even keel and helps protect against some cancers. But it’s also rich in the plant chemicals that have the power to turn on beneficial genes.