OLIVE OIL AND YOUR HEALTH
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 and 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:
Olive oil can also help the digestive system to function more efficiently. It is thought to reduce gastric acidity and to be effective in protecting against ulcers and gastritis. It also stimulates bile secretion and regulates the emptying of the gallbladder, reducing the risk of gallstones.
- INTESTINAL FUNCTION
Olive oil is the edible fat most easily absorbed by the intestines and regulates the passage of food through the intestines. One or two tablespoons of olive oil has a positive effect as a laxative.
- BONE AND BRAIN DEVELOPMENT
Olive oil also promotes bone growth by fighting calcium loss and permits improved bone materialization in both children and adults due to its chemical composition. It is considered a good food choice for expectant and nursing mothers since it encourages normal brain development in the infant before and after birth. At the other end of the spectrum, olive oil may be helpful in preventing the wear and tear of age on the brain functions and the aging of organs and tissues in general.
Who is Dr. Erika Schwartz, M.D., you ask, and why does she care about olive oil health? Find out more about Dr. Erika Schwartz