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The Nutrition InvestigatorThe health and nutrition blog by Dr. Roc Ordman.

Olive Oil Is Great!

by Roc (click here for full post)


Olive oil – 40% of calories in Greece are from fat, yet Greeks have a much lower incidence of heart disease! One factor is that olive oil in the diet has a high level of polyphenols, especially many flavanoids that are beneficial to health. Extra virgin olive oil has the most polyphenols, up to 1g/liter. Extra virgin has less than 0.1% acidity. Virgin olive oil has some polyphenols, and has less than 1% acidity. Refined olive oil has no polyphenols. I is acidified artificially and that removes the polyphenols.

Butter and walnuts, but not olive oil, elicit postprandial activation of nuclear transcription factor B in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from healthy men Cecilia Bellido et al

Am. J. Clinical Nutrition,  Dec 2004;  801487 – 1491.

Conclusions:Consumption of an olive oil–enriched meal does not activate NF-B in monocytes as do butter and walnut-enriched meals. This effect could enhance the cardioprotective effect of olive oil–enriched diets.”  A Mediterranean diet with olive oil as the principal source of fat reduces the risk of heart disease.  Olive oil and red wine polyphenols inhibit endothelial adhesion molecule expression.  Oxidant stress and oxidized LDL activate NF-kB which is very harmful.

See composition of fish oil, olive oil, and flaxseed oil.

In contrast, trans fats in margarine are especially hazardous to your health.
J Nutrition March, 2006

[good fats take effect in 12 days] Joanne E. McKenzie et al Dietary-Induced Changes in Fatty Acid Composition of Human Plasma, Platelet, and Erythrocyte Lipids Follow a Similar Time Course

The dietary-induced changes in the fatty acid composition of plasma, platelet, and erythrocyte lipids were measured as a function of time…The maximum increase in linoleic acid composition of erythrocyte phosphatidylcholine was 3.8 mol% at d 12;…These results provide convincing, albeit indirect evidence that the exchange of fatty acids from plasma to erythrocytes and platelets is a major determinant of their membrane fatty acid composition.

[Atkin’s diet may be dangerous] Yoshiyuki Kimura et al, Chronic Intake of High-Fat and High-Sucrose Diets Differentially Affects Glucose Intolerance in Mice

Intakes of some macronutrients can comprise risk factors for life-style-related diseases such as obesity, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, hypertension, and atherosclerosis…Mice fed the high-fat (HF) diet gained weight and developed hyperlipidemia and hyperleptinemia… Those fed the HS diet were not obese and had greater hepatic lipogenic and gluconeogenic enzyme activities. ..

[egg yolk good for eyes; some people absorb more cholesterol from food] Maria Luz Fernandez et al, Hypo- and Hyperresponse to Egg Cholesterol Predicts Plasma Lutein and ß-Carotene Concentrations in Men and Women

The purpose of this study was to determine whether the plasma response to dietary cholesterol from eggs is associated with the plasma carotenoid response and whether gender influences the carotenoid response. ..We conclude that plasma responses to cholesterol and carotenoids are related and that gender influences the ß-carotene response to a greater degree than the lutein response.

[how virgin olive oil prevents cancer] Guido Morozzi et al, Virgin Olive Oil Phenols Inhibit Proliferation of Human Promyelocytic Leukemia Cells (HL60) by Inducing Apoptosis and Differentiation

Although epidemiologic evidence and animal studies suggest that olive oil may prevent the onset of cancer, the components responsible for such an effect and their mechanisms of action remain largely unknown… These results support the hypothesis that polyphenols play a critical role in the anticancer activity of olive oil.

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