Dr Dingle's Blog / olive oil

2017 Dr Dingle’s February Wellness Presentations.

2017 Dr Dingle’s February Wellness Presentations.

7.00 -9.00 PM. Wednesday nights

445 Charles St North Perth

$12 online/$20 at the door www.drdingle.com

February 1, 2017 : Probiotics, People and Poo 

http://tix.yt/probiotics   February 8, 2017 : Reducing Toxic Overload in our Kids 

http://tix.yt/toxic-kids February 15, 2017 : 7 Steps To Permanent Weight Loss 

http://tix.yt/7stepstoweightloss

February 22, 2017 : Living Longer, Ageing Well. The science of living a full life http://tix.yt/ageingwell

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The Good Oil: Olive oil

The Good Oil: Olive oil

A liberal sprinkle of olive oil on your food may be good for your health and even slow down ageing. Many of the beneficial effects of olive oil on human health were originally thought to be the high concentrations of monounsaturated (omega 9) fatty acids, in particular oleic acid, was considered as the major healthful characteristic of virgin olive oil. Unlike saturated and omega 6 (vegetable oil) fats these don’t compete with the beneficial omega 3 fatty acids. However, more recent research has shone light on some of the minor ingredients particularly oleuropein (OL) and hydroxytyrosol (HT). There are more than 200 ‘minor components’ in the olive oil, which represent about 2% of the total weight. However, “extra virgin” olive oil, contains among the others, some peculiar antioxidant compounds which are not present in other oils and in other foods. These antioxidant compounds also contribute to the long oil shelf-life and influence characteristics including smell and taste (e.g. bitter, astringent, pungent, throat-catching) and color. Numerous benefits of these olive oil compounds have been shown with cardiovascular, metabolic and neurological diseases, cancer, weight loss and much more. Truly a health product to add to your daily meals.

When used with vegetables the oils increase the absorption of important antioxidants such as lycopene, the red colour found in tomatoes. When cooking tomato sauce the traditional way in olive oil the lycopene's leaches out from the tomatoes into the oil because it's very fat soluble. Lycopene has many health benefits but is well know for its protection from prostate cancer.

Olive oils have been found to have particularly high levels of anti-oxidants and anti inflammatory compounds and regular consumption of extra virgin olive oils. The studies also show the more you consume the lower the oxidative stress and inflammation, the 2 leading causes of chronic illness. The most bioactive of these compounds are OL and HT. In particular, OL is abundant in high amounts in unprocessed olive leaves and fruit, while higher concentration of HT may be found in the fruit and in olive oil. You can also get olive leaf extract from the local health food shop.

OL and HT are particularly effective as they show many different types of antioxidant activity including stimulating a process called Nrf2 (pronounced Nerf 2) which increase our body’s own production of antioxidants right in the cells where they are really needed. This is one of the major reasons they are so beneficial for people with diabetes type 2.

One of the more critical properties of these compounds is that they help prevent the formation of plaque in the arteries, known to cause heart disease or atherosclerosis. In particular, OL, in the average daily intake of olive oil or olive pieces of the Mediterranean diet, remarkably reduced (50% in average) LDL-cholesterol oxidation in fat rich meals (i.e. French fries) and increased the production of certain anti-oxidative enzymes (glutathione-related enzymes), preventing oxidation of LDL’s before plaque formation could occur in the artery. Studies in both rabbits and rats have also shown OL has multiple other cardio-protective effects to do with deterioration of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy).

Numerous studies have now found a strong link of the anti-diabetic action with the antioxidant effects of OL particularly lowering of blood sugar (hypoglycemic). In human studies OL and HT have also been shown to improve insulin action and production in overweight middle-aged men at risk of developing metabolic syndrome a precursor to diabetes. This effect was comparable to that seen with drugs used to treat diabetes and much more platable.

Large population based studies have reported that uptake of olive oil is associated with a reduced risk of cancer in different organs. In a study of 13,800 people high olive oil consumption was associated with a 36% lower risk of developing breast cancer and a 30% lower risk of developing cancer of the digestive system. Among other studies, OL has been shown to inhibit tumor growth and spreading human breast cancer in mice studies.

HT, OL and some of the other derivatives have also been shown to be effective in age-related disorders such as neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease. Supplementation with an olive extract decreased pain and inflammation, and improved the quality of life of people suffering from arthritis. In addition, other studies have shown to lower inflammation-induced bone loss (osteopenia) in rats and found that bone loss was reduced as a result of supplementation. HT has also been shown to protect against age-associated macular degeneration (AMD) which is the leading cause of legal blindness for people over 55 years of age in the Western world.

So it is time we changed our main oils over to olive oil and consumed more of it every day. Unfortunately, much of the so-called olive oil sold in stores today is not actually olive oil, but rather a deceptive blend of inferior oils that may or may not include traces of actual olive oil. Both overseas consumer reports and studies have shown as much as 50 percent or more of all the olive oil sold commercially does not pass the stringent testing standards used to qualify the authenticity of real olive oil. A good reason to buy local extra virgin olive oil.

Some olive oil hints

  • Only buy oils in a dark glass bottles.
  • Only buy local extra virgin olive oil
  • Store oils in the fridge or dark, cool places. If heat and sunlight break them down, they’ll form free radicals that damage your body.
  • Heating oil makes even the best oil toxic. Cooking with oil destroys some of its nutritional components and causes other toxic components to form. So add oils at the last minute to avoid heating them for too long.
  • Cold pressed oils have higher levels of nutrients and toxins are not added or formed during the extraction process.
  • Don't worry about colour. Good oils come in all shades, from green to gold to pale straw.
  • Ensure that your oil is labelled "extra virgin," since other categories—"pure" or "light" oil, "olive oil" and "olive pomace oil" – have undergone chemical refinement.
  • Don’t buy olive oil in a spray can and
  • To get extra benefit mix it with a good quality vinegar to add to every salad (I will explain that later).

 

Read more →

The Good Oil: Olive oil

The Good Oil: Olive oil

A liberal sprinkle of olive oil on your food may be good for your health and even slow down ageing. Many of the beneficial effects of olive oil on human health were originally thought to be the high concentrations of monounsaturated (omega 9) fatty acids, in particular oleic acid, was considered as the major healthful characteristic of virgin olive oil. Unlike saturated and omega 6 (vegetable oil) fats these don’t compete with the beneficial omega 3 fatty acids. However, more recent research has shone light on some of the minor ingredients particularly oleuropein (OL) and hydroxytyrosol (HT). There are more than 200 ‘minor components’ in the olive oil, which represent about 2% of the total weight. However, “extra virgin” olive oil, contains among the others, some peculiar antioxidant compounds which are not present in other oils and in other foods. These antioxidant compounds also contribute to the long oil shelf-life and influence characteristics including smell and taste (e.g. bitter, astringent, pungent, throat-catching) and color. Numerous benefits of these olive oil compounds have been shown with cardiovascular, metabolic and neurological diseases, cancer, weight loss and much more. Truly a health product to add to your daily meals.

When used with vegetables the oils increase the absorption of important antioxidants such as lycopene, the red colour found in tomatoes. When cooking tomato sauce the traditional way in olive oil the lycopene's leaches out from the tomatoes into the oil because it's very fat soluble. Lycopene has many health benefits but is well know for its protection from prostate cancer.

Olive oils have been found to have particularly high levels of anti-oxidants and anti inflammatory compounds and regular consumption of extra virgin olive oils. The studies also show the more you consume the lower the oxidative stress and inflammation, the 2 leading causes of chronic illness. The most bioactive of these compounds are OL and HT. In particular, OL is abundant in high amounts in unprocessed olive leaves and fruit, while higher concentration of HT may be found in the fruit and in olive oil. You can also get olive leaf extract from the local health food shop.

OL and HT are particularly effective as they show many different types of antioxidant activity including stimulating a process called Nrf2 (pronounced Nerf 2) which increase our body’s own production of antioxidants right in the cells where they are really needed. This is one of the major reasons they are so beneficial for people with diabetes type 2.

One of the more critical properties of these compounds is that they help prevent the formation of plaque in the arteries, known to cause heart disease or atherosclerosis. In particular, OL, in the average daily intake of olive oil or olive pieces of the Mediterranean diet, remarkably reduced (50% in average) LDL-cholesterol oxidation in fat rich meals (i.e. French fries) and increased the production of certain anti-oxidative enzymes (glutathione-related enzymes), preventing oxidation of LDL’s before plaque formation could occur in the artery. Studies in both rabbits and rats have also shown OL has multiple other cardio-protective effects to do with deterioration of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy).

Numerous studies have now found a strong link of the anti-diabetic action with the antioxidant effects of OL particularly lowering of blood sugar (hypoglycemic). In human studies OL and HT have also been shown to improve insulin action and production in overweight middle-aged men at risk of developing metabolic syndrome a precursor to diabetes. This effect was comparable to that seen with drugs used to treat diabetes and much more platable.

Large population based studies have reported that uptake of olive oil is associated with a reduced risk of cancer in different organs. In a study of 13,800 people high olive oil consumption was associated with a 36% lower risk of developing breast cancer and a 30% lower risk of developing cancer of the digestive system. Among other studies, OL has been shown to inhibit tumor growth and spreading human breast cancer in mice studies.

HT, OL and some of the other derivatives have also been shown to be effective in age-related disorders such as neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease. Supplementation with an olive extract decreased pain and inflammation, and improved the quality of life of people suffering from arthritis. In addition, other studies have shown to lower inflammation-induced bone loss (osteopenia) in rats and found that bone loss was reduced as a result of supplementation. HT has also been shown to protect against age-associated macular degeneration (AMD) which is the leading cause of legal blindness for people over 55 years of age in the Western world.

So it is time we changed our main oils over to olive oil and consumed more of it every day. Unfortunately, much of the so-called olive oil sold in stores today is not actually olive oil, but rather a deceptive blend of inferior oils that may or may not include traces of actual olive oil. Both overseas consumer reports and studies have shown as much as 50 percent or more of all the olive oil sold commercially does not pass the stringent testing standards used to qualify the authenticity of real olive oil. A good reason to buy local extra virgin olive oil.

Some olive oil hints

  • Only buy oils in a dark glass bottles.
  • Only buy local extra virgin olive oil
  • Store oils in the fridge or dark, cool places. If heat and sunlight break them down, they’ll form free radicals that damage your body.
  • Heating oil makes even the best oil toxic. Cooking with oil destroys some of its nutritional components and causes other toxic components to form. So add oils at the last minute to avoid heating them for too long.
  • Cold pressed oils have higher levels of nutrients and toxins are not added or formed during the extraction process.
  • Don't worry about colour. Good oils come in all shades, from green to gold to pale straw.
  • Ensure that your oil is labelled "extra virgin," since other categories—"pure" or "light" oil, "olive oil" and "olive pomace oil" – have undergone chemical refinement.
  • Don’t buy olive oil in a spray can and
  • To get extra benefit mix it with a good quality vinegar to add to every salad (I will explain that later).

 

Read more →

Vinegar. A real superfood

Vinegar. A real superfood

Vinegar has been around in human culture for thousands of years. In fact, its first recorded use was about 5000 years ago. In the year 400 B.C., Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, prescribed the mixture of honey and apple cider vinegar for treatment of various diseases. In prophetic medicine, Prophet Muhammad strongly recommended eating vinegar in the Prophetic Hadeeth: "vinegar is the best edible". It has been widely used during wars for disinfecting the wounds of soldiers before pharmaceuticals came along and is commonly referred to in all the folk and traditional medicine for many health conditions. More recently vinegar has been found in many long living human cultures including being a big part of the Mediterranean diet which may account for some of the benefits of this diet.

A variety of natural vinegar products are found in civilizations around the world. It is a sour traditional fermented food that is used in pickles, sauces and beverages, as well as in various food-processing procedures and as a specialty food ingredient. Vinegar is produced from fruit juices such as grape, apple, plum, coconut, and tomato, rice, and potato. It is made by crushing the fruit and squeezing out the liquid. Bacteria and yeast are added to the liquid to start the alcoholic fermentation process, and the sugars are turned into alcohol. In a second fermentation process, the alcohol is converted into vinegar by acetic acid-forming bacteria.

Although vinegar can be made from any fruit, apple cider vinegar is the most common vinegar used in western folk medicine. Traditionally, apple cider vinegar is made with a long fermentation of apple juices and pulp, of around 1 month, and is fuelled by species of acetic acid bacteria from the fruit and the environment. As a result, acetic acid is the main ingredient of apple cider vinegar, around 3–10% and gives vinegar its characteristic taste and smell. In addition, some of the other ingredients include, polyphenols, like carotenoids, catechin, ephicatechin, as well as gallic acid, citric, lactic, malic and tartaric acids, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid, ferulic acid, pectin, probiotics and prebiotics 1-5. Vinegar also contains various minerals such copper, potassium, sodium, chloride, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, E and, complex carbohydrates and fiber, amino acids and numerous beneficial enzymes to help with digestion. Many of the ingredients in vinegar such as the phenolic compounds are also found in the starting material (i.e., the fruit), or may be introduced to it by aging the vinegar so large differences exist in content of phenolic compounds among vinegars. Overall vinegar is an extremely well rounded nutritious food.

While vinegar products are widely used around the world, the scientific information about the health effects of vinegar as a traditional medicine is only now catching up and supported by many scientific studies. Over the past 20 years the research on vinegar has shown many positive effects on health 2,3 such as an antibacterial effect, cardiovascular benefits, reduction in blood pressure, an antioxidant and anti inflammatory effect, regulation of blood sugar and anti-diabetic effect, reduction and prevention of obesity 6-8, a healing effect on injuries, and a positive effect on brain and cognitive functions 1,9 and on bone health 10.

Historically vinegar was used in the treatment of diabetes before any pharmacologic glucose-lowering therapy 11,12. Recent studies indicate that vinegar improves insulin sensitivity in healthy volunteers, diabetics and obese individuals  8,13,14. In type 2 diabetics vinegar reduces the after meal peak in circulating sugar (hyperglycaemia), insulin and fatty acids (triglycerides) 11,12,16, which in turn reduces the level of blood sugar reacting with the red blood cells (haemoglobin A1c) which is damaging to the blood cells in patients with type 2 diabetes 17.

More specifically the blood glucose/sugar-lowering effect of vinegar was evident when vinegar was ingested with complex carbohydrates, but to a lesser extent with simple sugars (monosaccharides) 13,18 and vinegar reduced the after meal sugar spike (postprandial glycaemia) in patients with type 2 diabetes when added to a high, but not to a low, glycaemic index meal 15. This suggests that vinegar is more effective in controlling blood sugar and triglycerides best in the processed carb rich diet compared to when you just take it with simple healthy meals.

While there appear to be many mechanisms by which vinegar reduces glucose levels not everything is fully understood yet. However, what we do know is that vinegar/acetic acid delays gastric emptying, slowing down the digestion and absorption of sugars and fats 19,20; it slows the breaking down of more complex sugars (disaccharide) in the small intestine and suppresses the absorption of carbohydrate 21; lowers free fatty acid in the blood leading to improved insulin sensitivity, increased blood flow to the peripheral tissues and increased satiety, leading to lower food intake 22. In a study of 12 healthy volunteers vinegar served with a portion of white wheat bread containing 50 g available carbohydrates reported a significant dose-response relation for blood glucose and serum insulin; the higher the acetic acid level, the lower the glucose and insulin. Furthermore, the rating of stomach fullness was directly related to the acetic acid level 8.

Vinegar also increases glucose uptake in skeletal muscles 23 and ingestion at bedtime has also been shown to decrease fasting glucose levels in the morning in humans with type 2 diabetes, suggesting an effect of acetic acid on reducing glucose production and increasing the rates of glycogen synthesis (storage) in the cells 24. Vinegar also stimulates the blood flow and capillary recruitment to the muscles 25,26. Much of this occurs through epigenetic processes and induced gene expression 27.

Apple cider vinegar and other fruit vinegars also have a protective effect on the liver, protecting it from metabolic damage associated with metabolic syndrome and diabetes type 2 28-31. These findings suggest that these vinegars may prevent high fat diet-induced obesity and obesity-related cardiac complications 32.

A large number of studies have also shown the cardiovascular benefits of vinegar 33. In a study of rats with high blood pressure both vinegar and acetic acid decreased blood pressure 34. The studies show that even acute consumption of apple cider vinegar (which is rich in antioxidants and anti inflammatories) causes significant reduction on some risk factors around the build up of plaque in the arteries 35 and reduced atherosclerotic lesions in the aorta, among rabbits on fat diets 36. Vinegar also decreases circulating blood fat (triglyceride) levels 37,38,39 and protect from fat accumulation in liver 40,41 in obese 38and/or type 2 diabetic 42 humans . It also decreases fat levels in skeletal muscle 43 which is a common feature in diabetes and insulin resistance. Apple cider vinegars, regardless of the production method, decreases triglyceride and very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) levels in all groups when compared to controls without vinegar supplementation. A number of studies have also shown the benefits of vinegar on the cholesterol profile even in animals consuming a high cholesterol diet 36,37 and the polyphenols (catechins) present in apple vinegar have been shown to inhibit the LDL oxidation in endothelial cells 44 which make up the lining of the cell wall and may be the precondition for plaque build up.

As a result of its improvement on blood circulation vinegar is likely to have a benefits for many cardio vascular illnesses, even Alzheimer’s (which is just another cardio vascular disease), but as yet the research is only circumstantial. Vinegar has also been shown to be an effective treatment for varicose veins taken internally and applied externally. In a study randomized controlled trial of 120 patients application of vinegar lead to reduction in cramps, pain, leg fatigue perception, edema, itching, pigmentation, weight feelings in the leg, and visual ratings 45. Even though vinegar does not remove the problem veins entirely, the effects they have can reduce symptoms, reduce complication development, or reduce aesthetic concerns.

Vinegar has been shown to reduce osteoporosis 46. Vinegar is a rich source of minerals, such as calcium, manganese and magnesium, which are important in sustaining optimal bone mass. Moreover, the acetic acid content in vinegar has also been shown to promote the absorption and retention of calcium 47.

Consuming apple cider vinegar has also been shown to to have many anti oxidative effects throughout the body including reducing eye lens oxidative injury, a characteristic of the developments of cataracts, by stimulating one of the main antioxidant systems in the body called glutathione peroxidase in mice 48.

Vinegar also helps with digestion and has been recommended to people with digestive troubles for hundreds of years. Common thought is that it helps to prime the gastro-intestinal system for digestion and experience shows that people suffering from reflux (GORD) are more likely to have low levels of gastric acid, not too much acid and one teaspoon (diluted) of vinegar before a meal can assist with digestion. However, this is unlikely to be a result of the pH of the vinegar but may be due to other compounds such as enzymes, prebiotics and probiotics to assist digestion or that it promotes the release of bile acids to assist with the digestion of fats.

 

In the future our medical doctors will tell their patients to go and have 30-50 ml of organic apple cider vinegar a day spread over two meals to prevent and help treat the major health conditions we are confronted with today rather than put them on multiple drugs that have deadly side effects.

 

 

References

 

  1. Budak NH et al J Food Sci. 2014
  2. Shahidi F., et al Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2008
  3. Verzelloni E et al. Food Chemistry. 2007
  4. Salbe A. et al. Nutrition Research. 2009
  5. Budak H. N et al 2010
  6. Seo, K.I et al Food Funct. 2014
  7. Kondo T., Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry. 2009
  8. Östman E., et al European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2005
  9. Fukami H.et al. Anti-Aging Medicine. 2009
  10. Jang, S.Y.; et al Korean J. Food Preserv. 2005
  11. Johnston C. S. and Gaas C. Medscape General Medicine. 2006;
  12. Johnston C. S and Buller A. J. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2005
  13. Johnston C. S., et al Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism. 2010
  14. Mitrou P., et al. Diabetes Care. 2010
  15. Liatis S.,et al.European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2010,
  16. Leeman M et al Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005
  17. Johnston C. S., et al Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. 2009
  18. Van Dijk J.-W et al. Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications. 2012
  19. Liljeberg H and Björck I. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1998
  20. Hlebowicz J et al BMC Gastroenterology. 2007
  21. Ogawa N., et al. Journal of Nutrition. 2000
  22. J, et al Mol Nutr Food Res. 2016
  23. Panayota Mitrou, et al. J Diabetes Res. 2015; 2015
  24. White A. M.and Johnston C. S. Diabetes Care. 2007
  25. Dimitriadis Get al Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. 2011
  26. Barrett E. J et al. Diabetologia. 2009
  27. Yamashita H. et al Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2016
  28. Abdellatif Omar, et al. Egyptian Journal of Hospital Medicine 2016
  29. Abbasi M, et al 2016
  30. Bouazza A, et al Pharm Biol. 2016,
  31. Boon Kee Beh. et al RSC Adv., 2016
  32. Bounihi A, et al . Pharm Biol. 2016
  33. Honsho, S.; et al Pharm. Bull. 2005
  34. Na L, et al . Eur J Nutr. 2016
  35. Setorki M., et al Qom University of Medical Sciences Journal. 2010
  36. Setorki M., et al. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research. 2011
  37. Fushimi T., et al British Journal of Nutrition. 2006;
  38. Lozano J et al. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research. 2012;
  39. Setorki M et al Lipids in Health and Disease. 2010
  40. Budak NH1, et al J Agric Food Chem. 2011
  41. Mansouri et al Journal of Zanjan University of Medical Sciences & Health Services. 2008
  42. Yamashita H., et al. Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry. 2007
  43. Yamashita H., et al. Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry. 2009
  44. Iizuka et al. Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology. 2010
  45. Derya Atik, et al Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016
  46. Lhotta, K et al Nephron 1998
  47. Mee Youn Lee, et al. Molecules 2016,
  48. Naziroğlu et al Cell Membranes and Free Radical Research. 2012

 

 

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Olive oil. The good oil

Olive oil. The good oil

A liberal sprinkle of olive oil on your food may be good for your health and even help with weight loss. Over the past decade there has been increasing interest in the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet. With rates of chronic disease, such as cancer and heart disease, increasing in western societies, rates have remained relatively low in Mediterranean regions. Many studies attribute this to a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, fresh fish, low processed food, vegetable fats and lots of olive oil.

 

Many of the beneficial effects on human health were originally thought to be the high concentrations of monounsaturated (omega 9) fatty acids, in particular oleic acid, was considered as the major healthful characteristic of virgin olive oil. Unlike saturated and omega 6 fats these don’t compete with the beneficial omega 3 fatty acids. However, more recent research has shone light on some of the minor ingredients particularly oleuropein (OL) and hydroxytyrosol (HT). There are more than 200 ‘minor components’ in the olive oil, which represent about 2% of the total weight. As a group these are called phenolic compounds (PC) and are found in many sources, however “extra virgin” olive oil, contains among the others, some peculiar phenolic compounds which are not present in other oils and in other foods. The concentration of these PC in olive oil is extremely variable from a few mg/kg up to 800 mg/kg and depend upon different growing and technological aspects of olive oil production 1 and if it is really virgin olive oil. These antioxidant phenolic alcohols also contribute to the long oil shelf-life and influence characteristics including smell and taste (e.g. bitter, astringent, pungent, throat-catching) and color 2. Numerous benefits of these olive oil PC have been shown with cardiovascular, metabolic and neurological diseases, cancer and much more. Truly a health product to add to your daily meals.

When used with vegetables the oils increase the absorption of important antioxidants such as lycopene, the red colour found in tomatoes. Research has found that the way food is cooked can make an enormous difference, especially if it's the colour red. 25 mls of olive oil used in the cooking of about half a kilogram of tomatoes per day, is enough to significantly increase in lycopene levels in plasma by the end of five days compared to just tomatoes alone. When cooking tomato sauce the traditional way in oil the lycopene's leaches out from the tomatoes into the oil because it's very fat soluble. Lycopene protects men from prostate cancer 3.

Olive oils have been found to have particularly high levels of anti-oxidants and anti inflammatory phenolic compounds (PC) and regular consumption of olive oils containing phenols, has the ability to reduce oxidative stress even in those consuming low-antioxidant diets. In one study an increase in olive oil intake resulted in a dose-dependent reduction in oxidative stress and inflammation 4. The most bioactive of these compounds are OL and HT which are released from the olive fruit during the extraction process. In particular, OL is abundant in high amounts in unprocessed olive leaves and fruit, while higher concentration of HT may be found in the fruit and in olive oil 5.

The antioxidant activity of OL and HT which have a high level of bioavailabilty 6 and human studies show that a large proportion of ingested olive oil phenols were absorbed, mainly in the small intestine 7. OL and HT are so effective as they have multiple antioxidant activities. They act as free radical scavengers and radical chain breaking; anti-oxygen radicals; and metal chelators. HT also induces simultaneously both phase II detoxifying enzymes (a set of important enzymes for protecting against oxidative damage) and mitochondrial biogenesis, two critical pathways occurring in the fight against oxidative stress. OL and HT stimulate Nrf2 which increase our body’s own production of antioxidants where they are really needed. This is one of the major reasons they are so beneficial for people with diabetes type 2.

One of the more critical properties of these phenolic compounds is that they may prevent the formation of atherosclerotic plaque, known to cause heart disease or atherosclerosis 8. The olive oil extracts inhibit the oxidation of LDL’s 9. As we have discussed many times in the past LDL cholesterol is not the problem but it becomes a problem when it is oxidized as it is no longer able to fulfil its normal function. In particular, OL, in the average daily intake of olive oil or olive pieces of the Mediterranean diet, remarkably reduced (50% in average) LDL oxidation in fat rich meals (i.e. French fries). OL increased the production of certain anti-oxidative enzymes (glutathione-related enzymes) in preventing oxidation of LDL’s before plaque formation could occur in the artery. In support of this the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the equivalent of the FDA in the US and the TGA in Australia and very conservative has officially recognized the protective effects of the olive oil phenolic compounds 10.

Studies in both rabbits and rats have also shown OL has multiple other cardio-protective effects to do with deterioration of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy) 11. Other interesting properties of olive derivatives including oleanolic acid, ursolic acid and uvaol have shown significant cardiovascular benefits.

In the early 90s scientists first suggested a protective role of OL extracted by olive leaves 12 on diabetes and managing blood sugar. Subsequent studies found a strong link of the anti-diabetic action with the antioxidant effects of OL particularly lowering of blood sugar (hypoglycemic) 13. In diabetic mice, HT significantly decreased fasting glucose, and blood serum levels, the latter effects obtained when treatment with the diabetes drug metformin failed 14. In human studies OL and HT have also been shown to improve insulin action and production in overweight middle-aged men at risk of developing metabolic syndrome (51.1 mg OL, 9.7 mg HT for day). This effect was comparable to that seen with drugs used to treat diabetes 15.

Major epidemiological studies have reported that uptake of olive oil is associated with a reduced risk of cancer in different organs. A meta-analysis published in 2011 summarized the results of 19 studies with 13,800 patients and 23,340 controls showed that high olive oil consumption was associated with a 36% lower risk of developing cancer in breast and a 30% lower risk of developing cancer of the digestive system 16. Both OL and HT have displayed multiple protective effects against cancer, mainly dependent on their antioxidant activity. Although at higher doses, OL and HT may exert pro-oxidant activity 17 responsible for stopping the spread of cancer cells. Olive oil phenols have been shown to inhibit both initiation and promotion/progression phases of cancer development. Among other studies, OL has been shown to inhibit tumor growth and metastases (spreading) human breast cancer transplanted into mice 18. While another compound in olive oil Oleic Acid has been shown to reduce the level of a gene by up to 46% that stimulates cancer cell growth and which occurs in more than 20% of breast cancer patients.

By acting against oxidation and inflammation HT, OL and some of the other derivatives have also been shown to be effective in age-related disorders such as neurodegenerative diseases 19. Supplementation with an olive extract decreased pain and inflammation, and improved the quality of life of people suffering from arthritis. In addition, other studies have shown to lower inflammation-induced bone loss (osteopenia) in rats and found that bone loss was reduced as a result of supplementation 20. HT has also been shown to protect against macular degeneration associated with age-associated macular degeneration. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of legal blindness for people over 55 years of age in the Western world 21.

Many studies have reported the protective properties of OL and HT against both bacteria and viral infections 22. Research shows OL to have anti-viral properties including inhibiting HIV-infection and replication 23.

Unfortunately, much of the so-called olive oil sold in stores today is not actually olive oil, but rather a deceptive blend of inferior oils that may or may not include traces of actual olive oil. Both overseas consumer reports and studies have shown as much as 50 percent or more of all the olive oil sold commercially does not pass the stringent testing standards used to qualify the authenticity of real olive oil. Many high-volume, olive oils coming out of Italy and Spain have been shown to contain various blends of other oils and a report in the LA times showed that as much as 69% of imported European olive oil wasn't what it claimed to be. That is why you should by local “Australian” extra virgin olive oil only. It may cost a bit more but you know what you are getting and it is good.

When Hippocrates said “let food be thy medicine”, I have no doubt he was talking about olive oil so add lots more extra virgin olive oil to your food. Try olive oil from the bottle as a substitute for butter. You can apply it directly to the bread, or drizzle it over the salad on your rye bread sandwich.

Mixed with good quality vinegar it becomes a superfood. but more on that later

Some olive oil hints

  • Only buy oils in a dark glass bottles.
  • Only buy local (Australian) extra virgin olive oil
  • Store oils in the fridge or dark, cool places. If heat and sunlight break them down, they’ll form free radicals that damage your body.
  • Heating oil makes even the best oil toxic. Cooking with oil destroys many of its nutritional components and causes other toxic components to form. So add oils at the last minute to avoid heating them for too long.
  • Cold pressed oils have higher levels of nutrients and toxins are not added or formed during the extraction process.
  • Don't worry about colour. Good oils come in all shades, from green to gold to pale straw.
  • Ensure that your oil is labelled "extra virgin," since other categories—"pure" or "light" oil, "olive oil" and "olive pomace oil" – have undergone chemical refinement.
  • Don’t buy olive oil in a spray can

 

Acknowledgements

Tegan Dixon

References

  1. Servili
  2. et al. (2009)
  3. Morello et al 2004
  4. Fielding et al. 2005
  5. Visioli et al 2000
  6. Morello et al 2004
  7. Cicerale et al 2012
  8. Vissers et al 2002
  9. Masella et al 2004
  10. Nikolas et al 2002
  11. EFSA J. 2009
  12. Andreadou 2006
  13. Gonzalez et al 1992
  14. Al-Azzawie HF, Alhamdani. 2006
  15. Cao et al 2014
  16. de Bock et al 2013
  17. Psaltopoulou et al. 2011
  18. Fabiani et al 2009
  19. Sepporta et al. 2014
  20. Omar 2010
  21. Clinical Nutrition 2006
  22. Liu et al 2007
  23. Sudjana 2009
  24. Lee-Huang et al 2003.

 

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