Monday, July 2, 2012

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The Miracle of Olive Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

If you were to make one change in your kitchen—one single simple adjustment—to promote health and gain substantial benefits in countless ways, it would be: Use extra virgin olive oil in place of other fats.

 So many studies have verified the health-promoting qualities of extra virgin olive oil that the European Union has embraced it as the oil of choice, and is investing more than thirty-five million euros to promote consumption in its member states. In the U.S., the FDA, for only the third time, granted a qualified health claim for conventional foods containing olive oil. These foods are allowed to carry labels saying they may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

Olive oil—made from the crushing and pressing of one of the oldest known foods, olives—has been enjoyed since as early as 3000 B.C. It is a staple of the extraordinarily healthy Mediterranean diet, and it is now believed that the consumption of olive oil is a prime reason for the positive aspects of this particular diet.

It seems that the heart-healthy effects of olive oil are due to a synergy of health-promoting compounds. The monounsaturated fat in olive oil has various impressive health benefits. In addition to healthy fat, olive oil is a good source of vitamin E. One ounce of extra virgin olive oil contains 17.4 percent of the daily value (DV) for vitamin E. Interestingly, part of the nutrient synergy of extra virgin olive oil is that the abundant polyphenols not only provide their own health benefits, they also protect and preserve the accompanying vitamin E.

The powerful synergy of all the cooperating compounds in extra virgin olive oil seems to have beneficial effects on health, and a wide range of studies has demonstrated that adding olive oil to your regular diet could:

• Reduce your risk for breast and colon cancer

• Lower your blood pressure

• Improve your cardiovascular health

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