Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The benefits of extra-virgin olive oil

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” — Hippocrates

WE'VE ONLY cooked with olive oil at our house for years. Extra-virgin appears to have extra advantages. Below are the main points from three articles from USA TODAY to help you keep your heart and brain ticking along.


FYI: Coconut oil has more saturated fat than lard. Yikes!





Extra virgin olive oil staves off Alzheimer's, preserves memory, new study shows


By Sean Rossman

June 21, 2017

Temple University research shows extra-virgin olive oil protects against memory loss, preserves the ability to learn and reduces conditions associated with Alzheimer's disease.


Researchers at the college's Lewis Katz School of Medicine found mice with EVOO-enriched diets had better memories and learning abilities compared to the rodents who didn't eat the oil.


The real effect of EVOO appeared in the inner-workings of the mice's brains. Neuron connections in the brain were better preserved in those on an EVOO diet.


Also, olive oil reduces brain inflammation and activates the autophagy process, whereby intracellular debris and toxins are removed. Such debris and toxins are firm markers of Alzheimer's disease. A reduction in autophagy, researchers claim, is suspected to be the beginning of Alzheimer's disease.


Olive oil is the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet, which is praised for its various health benefits. This study, which was published Wednesday in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, adds to that previous research.


"The thinking is that extra-virgin olive oil is better than fruits and vegetables alone," said senior investigator Domenico Pratico, a professor at the Lewis Klein School of Medicine. "As a monounsaturated vegetable fat, it is healthier than saturated animal fats."


Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia in the United States and affects a person's thought, memory and language. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the disease typically starts after age 60 with mild memory loss. There is no cure.


Alzheimer's cases are on the rise. In 2013, 5 million Americans had the disease. That number is expected to triple to 14 million by 2050.


Pratico said the "exciting" finding sets researchers up for another experiment. The next step is to introduce EVOO later in the aging process.


"Thanks to the autophagy activation, memory and synaptic integrity were preserved, and the pathological effects in animals otherwise destined to develop Alzheimer's disease were significantly reduced," Pratico said. "We want to know whether olive oil added at a later time point in the diet can stop or reverse the disease."


Coconut oil is out. These are the oils you should be using, experts say


By Ashley May

June 20, 2017 

Last week, the American Heart Association said coconut oil is unhealthy, reigniting a conversation about saturated fat and leaving some confused about what is healthy. 


When shopping for a healthy oil, 
Donald Hensrud, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, said to go for one with high levels of monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats. Both are considered healthy fats that lower cholesterol. Also, avoid partially hydrogenated oils — that's the source of trans fat, which raises bad cholesterol.


Here are some of the healthiest oils, as recommended by doctors and researchers: 


High in monounsaturated fats: Olive oil is the shining star of healthy oils in this group. Many experts point to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine that enrolled 7,447 people ages 55 to 80-years-old and showed eating olive oil (or nuts) greatly reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease. Research also suggests olive oil could help reduce the chance of breast cancer.


The type of olive oil can matter. Extra virgin olive oil has slightly more nutrients, Hensrud said. Sediment in the bottle could actually translate to vitamin E. 


Avocado oil, which contains 71% monounsaturated fatty acids, has become a popular choice, and experts say for good reason. It has some of the same properties as olive oil, plus it has a high smoke point — meaning, it's safe to cook at high temperatures. Oils with low smoke points create toxic compounds when overheated (think: frying). Safflower and sunflower oils also contain high amounts of monounsaturated fats and have high smoke points (above 400 degrees). 


High in polyunsaturated fats: The American Heart Association's Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease advisory showed corn oil, soybean oil, peanut oil and canola oil all contain high amounts of polyunsaturated fats. Canola oil and peanut oil are high in both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Canola is best for baking because it's largely tasteless and peanut oil is good for frying because of its high smoke point.


Coconut oil isn't healthy. It's never been healthy.


By Ashley May

June 16, 2017

The American Heart Association recently released a report advising against the use of coconut oil. 


The Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease advisory reviewed existing data on saturated fat, showing coconut oil increased LDL ("bad") cholesterol in seven out of seven controlled trials. Researchers didn't see a difference between coconut oil and other oils high in saturated fat, like butter, beef fat and palm oil. In fact, 82% of the fat in coconut oil is saturated, according to the data — far beyond butter (63%), beef fat (50%) and pork lard (39%).


"Because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of CVD [cardiovascular disease], and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil," the American Heart Association said in the Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease advisory. 


1 comment:

  1. Oh good. I'm using the right ones. Plus coconut oil production destroys important habitat.

    ReplyDelete