“And with the sprig of a fruited olive, man is purified in extreme health” – Virgil – Aeneid
For context, the poet Virgil wrote the Aeneid sometime between 30 – 19 BCE. This is approximately 2000 years before the birth of Christ. The Greeks are known to be the earliest adopters of Olive Oil. Second to them the Romans became Olive Oil aficionados. So for at least 2 millennia the ancients have known the power and health benefits of Olive Oil. Today research and scientific knowhow is agog with research on the gifts of olive oil. One area of particular interest is the role played by Olive oil in good heart health. In today’s post, let us see just why Olive Oil is good for your heart.
Olive Oil is a part of the fabled Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet is widely argued to be the healthiest diet in the world. The emphasis of the Mediterranean diet is on clean flavours, minimal seasonings, fresh and fibre filled ingredients. Olive Oil is one of the main cooking agents used in this diet. Olive Oil is high in monounsaturated fats which protect the heart. This factor, combined with fresh ingredients make this kind of diet heart healthy. In fact, according to research, by following the Mediterranean diet, one reduces the chance of death by heart diseases and cancer by nearly 20%. (citation)
The right kind of fats present in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
According to Kary Woodruff, a dietician with the Salt Lake Intermountain Live Well Centre in Utah, “All oils are fats, which means they are composed of saturated, polysaturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.” A tablespoon of oil will on average provide you with about 120 calories of fat. The quality of these fats however are vastly different from one another. While you will find saturated fats in butter and hydrogenated vegetable oils, these increase the risk of heart disease and obesity. This is because saturated fats increase the levels of LDL cholesterol, which has been found to be linked in the development of blockages in arteries, leading to heart attacks. Extra Virgin Olive Oil however is a fantastic source of monounsaturated fatty acids which hinder the production of LDL’s and improve heart health. (citation)
Olive Oil can potentially help reverse heart failure
“Prevention is better than cure.” This is an adage that is universally agreed upon. Olive Oil however can help reverse (cure) the effects of heart failure. More specifically, certain fats present in Extra Virgin Olive Oil can do this. According to research conducted by University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine; Oleate, a common fat found in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, can help failing hearts use body fat as a fuel to keep pumping healthily. According to Douglas E. Lewandowski, study author and Director of the UIC Centre for Cardiovascular Research, “This gives more proof to the idea that consuming healthy fats can have a significantly positive effect on Cardiac Health.” (citation*)
*Kindly note the article used as a basis for this claim is published on a commercial olive oil products manufacturer’s website, but the article itself contains verified links to the study in question and quotes by the researchers in respected publications like Time.
There you have it, irrefutable proof why Olive Oil is actually good for your cardiac health. Looking for the best quality Spanish and Italian Olive Oil? Look no further, our brands Sol and Dolce Vita carry some of the best Spanish and Italian varieties of Olive Oil sourced directly from manufacturers from Spain and Italy respectively. Until next time, stay healthy and eat heart smart.