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Olive Oil Benefits

The health benefits of olive oil are exceptional and research is revelling more almost everyday. 

Replacing butter and other less healthy fats with olive oil has proven to help in the prevention of a wide range of diseases and counter effects of aging Some diseases Olive Oil has been found to be effective against are:


 Heart disease

Studies have shown that people who consumed 25 milliliters (mL) - about 2 tablespoons - of virgin olive oil daily for 1 week showed less oxidation of LDL cholesterol and higher levels of antioxidant compounds, particularly phenols, in the blood. (4)
But while all types of olive oil are sources of monounsaturated fat, EXTRA VIRGIN olive oil, from the first pressing of the olives, contains higher levels of antioxidants, particularly vitamin E and phenols, because it is less processed    (some explanation?)
Olive oil is clearly one of the good oils, one of the healing fats. Most people do quite well with it since it does not upset the critical omega 6 to omega 3 ratio and most of the fatty acids in olive oil are actually an omega-9 oil which is monounsaturated.

 Olive oil and colon cancer:

Spanish researchers suggest that including olive oil in your diet may also offer benefits in terms of colon cancer prevention (5). Their study results showed that rats fed diet supplemented with olive oil had a lower risk of colon cancer than those fed sunflower oil-supplemented diets. In fact, the rats that received olive oil had colon cancer rates almost as low as those fed fish oil, which several studies have already linked to a reduction in colon cancer risk.

 Chronic Degenerative Disease:

In many parts of the world, a high fat intake is associated with degenerative diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, asthma, colon cancer, and arthritis. But in some parts, a high fat intake is actually associated with lower rates of these conditions. A closer look at the foods eaten in these areas reveals that the high fat intake is actually due to the generous use of olive oil. Comparing these areas, such as the Mediterranean, where olive oil is the main fat used, to other regions, such as  the United States, where other fats such as animal fats, hydrogenated fats and vegetable oils like corn  oil dominate, produces turns up some very interesting data. It turns out that people who use olive oil regularly, especially in place of other fats, have much lower rates of heart disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and asthma.

Bone Loss:

The bone-sparing effects of olive polyphenols revealed in studies conducted by a special team at INRA (France's National Institute for Agricultural Research) are so dramatic that a new Belgian firm, BioActor, has licensed INRA's patents to use olive polyphenols for osteoporosis prevention in food, supplements and herbal medicines.
The World Health Organization calls osteoporosis its biggest global healthcare problems with aging populations,  also beset by obesity, a condition now known to greatly increase inflammation throughout the body, including in bones where it significantly contributes to osteoporosis. Today, a woman's lifetime risk of osteoporotic fracture is 30-40%, and even men face about a 13% risk. 
INRA researchers, inspired by epidemiological evidence that people eating a traditional Mediterranean diet were less likely to develop osteoporosis, began investigating the effects of olive oil and different compounds in olive leaves on bone metabolism.
Their early studies revealed that two olive polyphenols, oleuropin and hydroxytyrosol, greatly lessen the inflammation-mediated bone loss involved in osteoporosis. 
Then they published research in the British Journal of Nutrition (BJN) showing that both oleuropein and olive-oil consumption can prevent inflammation-induced osteopenia (bone-thinning) in animals whose ovaries have been removed. An animal 'model’ designed to simulate senile osteoporosis, the bone-wasting condition that affects the elderly, as it combines both hormone deficiency with chronic inflammation. Although the animals did not fully recover complete  bone density compared to controls group, those rats fed oleuropin (0.15g/kg) or olive-oil (50 g/kg) daily for 3 months recovered 70-75% of their bone density-a 50% improvement compared to control animals, which were given 25g/kg peanut oil and 25 g/kg rapeseed oil daily.
The INRA team, led by Dr. Veronique Coxam, is developing the protocol for a human study, which, if  goes well, could be started before the end of 2006.

DNA Free Radical Damage:
Extra-virgin olive oil, which, when properly cold pressed and stored in opaque containers, is naturally high in phenolic compounds with antioxidant properties, may be one of the key reasons for the lower incidence of cancer and cardiovascular disease in the Mediterranean region, suggests a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition. 
This randomized, crossover study involving 10 healthy post-menopausal women in Florence, Italy, found that when the women consumed extra-virgin olive oil high in phenols, their DNA experienced  a whopping 30% less damage than that seen when they consumed an olive oil in which the content of phenols, which can be destroyed by light and heat, was low. 
Be sure to buy only cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil sold in an opaque container or can to prevent to light and preserve its phenol content