Olive Oil Does It Again

Those Mediterranean people have it all: a perfect climate, gorgeous beaches and terrain, incredible food, and pretty darn good health. Aren’t we getting a little tired of hearing good things about them?

Yes, we know: it’s the olive oil. Countless studies have analyzed the beneficial properties of the much lauded E.V.O.O., and this one is no exception. The cooperative study specifically targeted olive oil’s antioxidant properties and its benefit for those with degenerative diseases.

The study was completed with the collaboration of the Institut of Nutrition and Food Technology of the Universidad de Granada and the Nutrition Team of the Hospital Virgen de las Nieves (Granada). Together with the Research Group, they have determined that consumption of olive oil rich in polyphenols (natural antioxidants) improves the lives of people suffering from oxidative stress, and is also highly beneficial for the prevention of cell aging and osteoporosis…. After analysing samples from 15 olive oil mills, researchers have demonstrated that olive oil is very rich in polyphenols. According to Professors Alberto Fernández and Antonio Segura, ‘as preventive substances, polyphenols help to combat any oxidative disease associated with the degenerative process.

via Science Daily

Though the resulting claim of the study probably comes as no surprise, it’s a confirmation worth reading. We’ve been longtime admirers of the olive elixir.
In addition to its antioxidants, olive oil boasts those groovy anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting properties. In fact, a substance called oleocanthal in olive oil has the same pharmacological effects as ibuprofen and is seen as a key protective factor in lower heart disease rates in much of Southern Europe. Freshly pressed olive oil contains more of the compound, which is all the more reason to scan the travel websites for cheap tickets these days.

A note for choosing olive oil to maximize all the aforementioned goodies:

Go for the polyphenol rich virgin or extra-virgin varieties. Since fresher is clearly better, check the packaging date (usually included with better quality oils). Choose an oil that’s less than a year old, and make sure to use it within a year’s time. But then, why take a whole year to go through a single bottle of something so healthy and delicious?

We’d love to hear your favorite uses for olive oil (culinary, please). Drop the MDA community a line.

hyku Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

Foods That Fight Inflammation

Slashfood: Authenticity for Olive Oil

Almost Vegetarian: 2,400 Year Old Olive Oil

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