OIL'S HEALTH BENEFITS
& COOKING ARTICLE
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Passion for Olive Oil
recent paper* published
by Dr. Chopra's research group at the Northern Ireland
Center for Diet and Health, University of Ulster, had
some interesting conclusions.
benefits from lycopene in tomato products have been
suggested to be related to its antioxidant activity.
Dietary fat may influence the absorption and hence the
antioxidant activity of lycopene. The study compared
the effect of consumption of tomato products with extra-virgin
olive oil versus sunflower oil. The different oils did
not affect the absorption of the lycopene into the body,
but the tomato/olive oil combination generated increased
plasma antioxidant activity by around 20%. Therefore
one conclusion drawn from the research was that it would
seem that consumption of tomato products with olive
oil, but not with sunflower oil, improves the antioxidant
activity of the plasma.
are faced with the question of whether the combination
of tomato and olive oil does something synergistically,
or whether the beneficial antioxidant effects are caused
by olive oil alone. Extra virgin olive oil is particularly
rich in the phenolic antioxidants as well as squalene
and oleic acid, and high consumption of the foregoing
in the diet provides considerable protection against
colon, breast and skin cancer, coronary heart disease
and aging by inhibiting oxidative stress. Research has
shown that scavenging of the hydroxyl radical was significantly
higher among extracts of olive oil. This effect was
only minimal in seed oils. In addition to their direct
antioxidant capacity, extracts of olive oil are also
potent inhibitors of xanthine oxidase activity. A constant
high olive oil intake in the diet, especially extra
virgin olive oil, provides a constant supply of antioxidants.
This may reduce oxidative stress through inhibition
of lipid peroxidation, a factor that is currently linked
to a host of diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
is a low incidence of skin cancer among Mediterranean
populations, and olive oil consumption could be a contributing
factor to this low cancer rate. Olive oil contains significantly
higher amounts of squalene than seed oils, and squalene
is to a large extent transferred to the skin. German
researchers believe that this transfer mechanism is
probably accomplished by scavenging singlet oxygen generated
by ultraviolet light. Japanese scientists also claim
that virgin olive oil applied to the skin after sunbathing
could protect against skin cancer by slowing tumor growth.
at the University Hospital "Germans Trias Pujol"
in Barcelona, Spain, compared the benefits of olive
oil with safflower and fish oil on rats to determine
if the type, and not just the amount, of fat in the
diet had an impact on cancer tumor growth. They found
that the research subjects on the olive oil diet had
less precancerous tissue and fewer tumors than the animals
fed the other oils.
researchers believe constituents of olive oil, such
as flavonoids, squalene and polyphenols, may help to
protect against cancer. Flavonoids and polyphenols are
antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage from oxygen-containing
chemicals called free radicals.
study by researchers at the University of Oxford adds
to the growing body of evidence that shows olive oil
is as effective as fresh fruit and vegetables in keeping
colon cancer at bay.
Michael Goldacre and a team of researchers at the Institute
of Health Sciences compared cancer rates, diets and
olive oil consumption in 28 countries including European
countries, the United States, Brazil, Colombia, Canada
and China. Countries with a diet high in meat and low
in vegetables had the highest rates of the disease and
olive oil was associated with a decreased risk.
researchers suspect olive oil protects against bowel
cancer by influencing the metabolism of the gut. They
think it cuts the amount of a substance called deoxycyclic
acid and regulates the enzyme diamine oxidase which
may be linked to cell division in the bowel.
study in the March 27, 2000 issue of Archives of Internal
Medicine, which was produced by Dr. Ferrara's research
team, shows that a diet high in MUFA from olive oil
can also help reduce blood pressure levels.
and his colleagues found that while consuming the extra-virgin
olive oil diet, research subjects reduced the amount
of antihypertensive medication necessary to control
blood pressure levels by 48%, versus only a 4% reduction
on the sunflower oil diet. In addition, eight subjects
on the extra-virgin olive oil diet required no antihypertensive
medications; all subjects on the sunflower oil diet
required antihypertensive medication. The authors conclude
that a diet lower in total fat and saturated fat and
a diet that contains higher amounts of MUFA can lower
blood pressure levels and reduce or eliminate the need
for medications in people with hypertension.
why does olive oil lower blood pressure? One possible
reason is its polyphenol content. Polyphenols are potent
antioxidants which help arteries dilate, thereby reducing
blood pressure. Ten grams of extra-virgin olive oil
contains five mg of polyphenols; sunflower oil has no
A.; Thurnham, D.I.; Chopra, C. Consumption of Tomato
Products with Olive Oil but not Sunflower Oil increases
the Antioxidant Activity of Plasma. Free Radical Biology
& Medicine, 29:1051-1055; 2000 [Nov. 15th, 2000
The Olive Tree World
article came from Constantine Alexander better known
as Papa Constantine. Papa Constantine is a Certified
Olive Oil Consultant based in Connecticut, USA.
His website is no longer available.
Constantine Alexander, 2001
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