A century ago an Italian physician named P. E. Remondino urged Americans to enrich their diets with olive oil as an antidote for shriveled livers, mummified skin, constipation and pessimism. As we learn more about the role of olive oil in helping to lower the risk of coronary artery disease, it becomes clear that we should have paid better attention to some of his advice.
Nutritionists are constantly seeking ways to put our cholesterol and fats in better balance by using natural adjustments in diet and lifestyle that don’t require drugs and other forms of medical intervention. The renewed interest in olive oil is a byproduct of this investigative process.
In order to understand the importance of turning to monounsaturated olive oil as our primary source of fat calories, first we have to examine the role of cholesterol and fats in out diets.
Cardiovascular disease kills one American every minute. Forty million Americans are estimated to have a dangerously high cholesterol level. Dr. Scott M. Grundy of the University of Texas Health Science Center in Dallas has found that monounsaturated oils such as olive oil are more protective of HDL (the good cholesterol) levels than polyunsaturated fats such as corn oil and soybean oil. Olive oil reduces total cholesterol without lowering HDL. His message is to substitute olive oil for the saturated fats in your diet.
In addition to its heart-protective role, olive oil has numerous other medical applications such as: