More on Health and Olive Oil

In mid January, the UC Davis Olive Center and the International Olive Council partnered with several scientists and researchers for a day seminar on health and olive oil. It was an international conference on how EVOO can have a central role in the prevention of chronic diseases. The seminar, which happened at the Mondavi Center at UC Davis, was called “The Olive Oil Promise.”

I was delighted to attend and listen to renowned experts. Some I already knew from reading olive oil papers published in scientific journals, as is the case of Dr. Francesco Visioli from the deparment of Molecular Medicine at the University of Padova, Italy.

There were several fascinating presentations. There are three main areas in which studies are being conducted regarding the impact of EVOO on our health. These areas are: cardiovascular, cancer and neurological, more specifically, neurodegeneration. So far, we have more conclusive data on cardio-vascular than on the other two. Nevertheless, new studies are offering exciting news in the areas of cancer and neurodegeneration as well.

Let’s go back to Dr. Visioli’s presentation. One particular part of his presentation that called my attention, were his comments on a study done on post-prandial (after a meal) lipemia.

Lipemia is the presence in the blood of an abnormally high concentration of emulsified fat. Post-prandial lipemia is associated with oxidative stress. A formation of oxidized fat compounds (lipid peroxides) takes place in our digestive system. This can be aggravated by the intake of fats that were already oxidized.

This study was conducted by giving twelve people with metabolic syndrome, three different mashed potatoes: one made with corn oil, one with olive oil (in this case we’re talking about the lowest grade of olive oil, when it’s refined, from defective olive oil) and one with EVOO.

The results showed that EVOO lowers the increase of thromboxane B2 production, a metabolite that eventually, in the long term, adds to platelet aggregation (as you see, the thromboxane is related to thrombosis).

Noteworthy as well was that there was not a significant difference between refined olive oil and corn oil. Refined olive oil was just a bit better than corn.

What it was much better than those two was Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

This is another confirmation that in the long term, EVOO is the fat that is most beneficial to cardiovascular health.

During another presentation, I asked how researchers obtained their olive oil for their studies. I always was curious about it, since, as we know, there can be enormous differences between two EVOOs. The latter is especially true when it comes to health, regarding phenols, tocopherols, etc. In the last 15 years, EVOOs of great quality were made in larger numbers, and they represent, virtually, a new category of quality within the EVOO grade.

Apparently, the type of EVOOs used in these studies are not standardized. They’re often from random donations or even from supermarkets.

It’s yet to be studied how these new EVOO, high in phenol compounds, will perform in tests. Everything indicates that all the goodness found in studies made with average EVOO will be enhanced and confirmed with a higher presence.



PS: The study is called: “Effects of Amount of Dietary Fats on Postprandial Lipemia and Thrombogenic Markers in Individuals with Metabolic Syndrome” by Kim-Tiu Teng and others.

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