PrintIf Olive Oil is Fat, Why is it Healthy?

Healthy fats, especially olive oil, are essential to a healthy diet.

Healthy fats, especially olive oil, are essential to a healthy diet.

Fats often get a bad rap. Although there are some types of fat you want to avoid or consume sparingly, such as trans fats, our bodies do require fat for survival. Fats are necessary for providing an important cushion around organs, they are essential for building hormones and cell membranes, and they supply the body with an efficient source of energy. In addition, fats assist in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins K, E, A, and D). For these reasons, it’s important to have a healthy amount of fat with every meal.

The key is to choose moderate amounts of healthy fats. Extra virgin olive oil is the star of the Mediterranean diet and one of the main sources of fat in Isagenix IsaLean Shakes (other sources of healthy fats include sunflower oil, flax seed, and medium-chain triglycerides from coconut oil). Olive oil is associated with several health benefits; in fact, observational studies have found that those who live in the Mediterranean region and follow the native diet that includes high amounts of olive oil live longer and healthier lives.

Undeniably Good For Your Heart

Olive oil has long been lauded for its fatty acid profile rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which have shown considerable benefit to heart health. Recently, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that compared to a standard low-fat diet, a Mediterranean diet rich in extra-virgin olive oil conferred long-term support for heart health (1).

Some may argue that the overall polyphenol (antioxidant) content that comes from eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is why those following a Mediterranean diet have better heart health. But a new study (2) suggests that the polyphenols found in olives and olive oil may play a large role in the diet’s protective effects.

Oleocanthanal On The Brain

Apart from the better heart health enjoyed by those in the Mediterranean region, epidemiology studies suggest that those eating olive oil-rich diets have improved cognitive health throughout their lives. The compound oleocanthanal, found in extra-virgin olive oil, may be an important factor for promoting brain health.

The most recent study to find that oleocanthal demonstrated brain health benefits was published in ACS Chemical Neuroscience. In the study, oleocanthal protected nerve cells in the brain from oxidative insult that is associated with neurodegenerative conditions (3). Oleocanthal showed a regular pattern of boosting production of two proteins that are critical in removing abnormal proteins in the brain, preserving brain function.

More Olive Oil May Equal Longer Life

When enjoyed regularly, especially when combined with co-enzyme Q10, olive oil may also lead to a healthier and longer life. In a study (4) published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that evaluated the Mediterranean diet in more than 40 thousand people from Spain, researchers found that the highest consumption of olive oil led to the lowest rates of mortality.

How can you reap the benefits of cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil? Look no further than IsaLean Shakes—yet another reason to enjoy the great taste of quality nutrition daily.

References

  1. Estruch R, Ros E, Salas-Salvado J et al. Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease with a Mediterranean diet. N Engl J Med 2013;368:1279-90.
  2. Tresserra-Rimbau A, Medina-Remon A, Perez-Jimenez J et al. Dietary intake and major food sources of polyphenols in a Spanish population at high cardiovascular risk: The PREDIMED study. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 2013.
  3. Abuznait AH, Qosa H, Busnena BA, El Sayed KA, Kaddoumi A. Olive-Oil-Derived Oleocanthal Enhances beta-Amyloid Clearance as a Potential Neuroprotective Mechanism against Alzheimer’s Disease: In Vitro and in Vivo Studies. ACS Chem Neurosci 2013.
  4. Buckland G, Mayen AL, Agudo A et al. Olive oil intake and mortality within the Spanish population (EPIC-Spain). Am J Clin Nutr 2012;96:142-9.