So many people today suffer from metabolic syndrome: overweight, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and low HDL. Metabolic Syndrome is probably one of the top reasons patients visit my office for pain and inflammation. There is a way to treat and control this naturally, and it involves consuming Extra Virgin Olive Oil. So many conditions that occur can be helped by diet from simple, natural foods of the earth. Let’s get back to basics.
Olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean diet and has been associated with the reduced risk for heart disease in cultures consuming it. A new study analyzes detailed gene responses in patients with the metabolic syndrome. They demonstrated that extra virgin olive oil significantly reduces the expression of inflammatory genes, whereas refined olive oil has no benefit.
To lower cholesterol naturally, a diet change must occur. If you think simply taking prescription, medications will accomplish this effectively by themselves, it makes no sense. There is no magic pill, bullet, or wand. We must take responsibility for our own bodies. I will discuss the addition of Extra Virgin Tuscan olive oil to your daily food plan. There are different types of olive oil, here are the basics.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
To be certified for the “extra virgin” label, an olive oil should satisfy four criteria: it must be produced by mechanical extraction methods (no chemicals or hot water applied), come only from first cold-pressing, have an oleic acidity level of less than one percent, and must have a perfect taste. This is highest in vitamins, nutrients, and the essential fatty acids responsible for lowering cholesterol.
Virgin Olive Oil.
This also comes from the first pressing, and is also produced without refining. In a technical sense, virgin olive oil may have an acidity level of up to 3.3%, however, industry practice in the producing countries is to maintain under 2% acidity.
Pure Olive Oil.
This is now simply called olive oil and is a blend of virgin olive oil and refined olive oil. Its label will bear the designation “pure” or “100% pure”. However, refined olive oil has very little vitamin E content. This is why producers need to add unrefined virgin olive oil to impart some of flavor, color and aroma into the blend.
These are the lowest grade of olive-based oils. Pomace is that part of the olive that remains after all the oil and water in it has been removed by pressuring or centrifuging processes. With the use of certain solvents, there is still some residual oil that can be extracted from the olive pomace. This oil may then be refined, which results in a product absent of any specific taste or color; it also contains none of olive oil’s vitamins.
There are certain light-tasting, light-colored oils containing minute proportions, if at all, of virgin oils. These are pure rectified oils called lite oils. They are being marketed with a particular slant that would have people believe that they are buying oils that have lower in fat or calorie content. The truth is, lite oils have 125 calories per tablespoon – exactly like all olive oils, and all fats, for that matter.
From this point on, I’ll be discussing the benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil – preferably from Tuscany. It ALWAYS pays to invest in this type of oil, for health benefits. Studies revealed that a compound in the oil, called oleocanthal, prevents the production of pro-inflammatory COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes – the same way NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories) work. Stronger-flavored oils from Tuscany or other regions that use the same olive varietal, have the highest oleocanthal levels. Inflammation is the basis for most disease today.
Olive oil inflammation study’s researchers say that 50 milliliters (ml), which is about 3 1/2 Tbsp., is equal to a 200-mg tablet of ibuprofen. That amount of oil has more than 400 calories – a lot if you add this healthy fat without giving up others. This means you will have to give up other sources of fat to balance this out. Butter and animal fat should be consumed in much smaller amounts, to accomplish this. Recipes that call for olive oil are tasty, as well as healthier for you.
For help in making healthy food choices, and for drug free pain relief, please call my office for an appointment.
Leisa- Marie Grgula, D.C.
20235 N Cave Creek Rd. #110
Phoenix, AZ 85024