Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Is It Healthy? Before You Drizzle, Read What The ‘Experts’ Say…

For now, I would venture to say a cautious ‘I am not sure’ about any benefits to using extra virgin olive oil and possible detriments thereof. I am doing an experiment with olive oil made in California to see how it ‘makes me feel’. Some doctors proclaim using it is health promoting, while others insist you should avoid it entirely, including all refined oils like sunflower, canola and corn, etc.. So, once again, who does one believe when a health authority says a particular refined oil is good or bad for you?

‘The so called experts disagree with everything; Therefore, again, we are left to our own resources to figure it out…’ ~ your author

We are forced to weigh the prevailing research all by ourselves. Yes, ‘olive oil’ adds that special flavor to our food. Cooking with it makes everything tastier. But, is something we eat healthful in the long run just because it satisfies the palate? I wonder…

‘It is unknown whether individuals at high cardiovascular risk sustain a benefit in cardiovascular disease from increased olive oil consumption. The aim was to assess the association between total olive oil intake, its varieties (extra virgin and common olive oil) and the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality in a Mediterranean population at high cardiovascular risk [1 ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24886626]’.

Furthermore, is it better to not use it for cooking or frying and only for drizzling on a salad? I personally believe that cooking may make the oil in question change its composition while pouring it on a salad may not. We will talk more about this later…

“There are agencies which will tell you which olive oil is authentic like the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA), USDA – United States Department of Agriculture, IOC – International Olive Council and
OOCC/CDFA – Olive Oil Commission of California under the California Department of Food and Agriculture. What? Yes, some companies sell ‘fake’ olive oil, which means it could be cut with other oils like sunflower…” ~ your author

Even though I may have genuine virgin olive oil in my hands, I can’t be assured if 100% olive oil is healthy. Yes, it’s been used in Mediterranean food for who knows how many centuries. They pour it on nearly everything they eat and don’t measure it. To them, I suppose the more of it they use, the better. Very tasty meals, but is olive oil keeping their hearts and cardiovascular system healthy? Or, would they be better off without it?

‘I’ve read before that researchers learned monkeys who eat high fat and cholesterol diets develop atherosclerosis just like humans do. Don’t forget that the great apes and we humans are almost genetically alike… [2 Rudel l, Parks J, sawyer J. Compared with dietary monounsaturated and saturated fat, 4 . polyunsaturated fat protects african green monkeys from coronary artery atherosclerosis. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol.1995;15:2101–2110]’.

Although, the traditional Mediterranean diet contains bountiful amounts of olive oil, they also eat generous amounts of fruits and vegetables. They include varying amounts of animal products like chicken, beef, fish and sugary sweets. Wine is drunk in moderation, with meals. Are plant based whole foods eaten with olive oil offsetting any ill effects of using extra virgin olive oil? That’s a possibility…

‘The Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower incidence of atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer. The apparent health benefits have been partially attributed to the dietary consumption of virgin olive oil by Mediterranean populations. Most recent interest has focused on the biologically active phenolic compounds naturally present in virgin olive oils. Studies (human, animal, in vivo and in vitro) have shown that olive oil phenolics have positive effects on certain physiological parameters, such as plasma lipoproteins, oxidative damage, inflammatory markers, platelet and cellular function, and antimicrobial activity. Presumably, regular dietary consumption of virgin olive oil containing phenolic compounds manifests in health benefits associated with a Mediterranean diet. This paper summarizes current knowledge on the physiological effects of olive oil phenolics. Moreover, a number of factors have the ability to affect phenolic concentrations in virgin olive oil, so it is of great importance to understand these factors in order to preserve the essential health promoting benefits of olive oil phenolic compounds [3 ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19093267]’.

Olive oil is big business and they pay advertising bucks to the media. Even if media owners, CEO’s and their stockholders knew olive oil was unhealthful, would they choose less advertising income? Furthermore, how often do you see big broccoli, salad, grain, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetable commercials on TV?

‘Olive oil consumption, specifically the extra-virgin variety, is associated with reduced risks of cardiovascular disease and mortality in individuals at high cardiovascular risk [4 ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24886626]’.

But, what does the above citation really mean? Are they saying olive oil is better for those with advanced cardiovascular disease compared to using butter or lard? I haven’t seen the a rock solid ‘guarantee’ olive oil or any other refined oil is a daily healthful addition to anybody’s diet.

‘I am also concerned whether it is better not to use it for frying and just drizzle it on a salad. It might be better drizzling it, even though olive oil is relatively heat resistant. But, how much is healthful using? A teaspoon a day, a tablespoon’? ~ your author

The North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) makes the claim olive oil is mostly monounsaturated fat. They say that cooking or frying with this type of oil will not change its fat composition. In other words, olive oil’s percentage of monounsaturated fat composition will remain the same after heating it to higher temperatures. But, again, does this make it healthy using it, and compared to what [5 aboutoliveoil.org/does-olive-oil-lose-its-health-benefits-when-heated]?

Personally, I have decided to get my essential oils from plant based whole food. That’s the only way one can be safe, in my opinion. If you want fat and oil, all plant based whole food has it in varying amounts. For example, even apples contain a very small percentage of fat.

Another example is you can eat seeds, nuts and avocados if you want even more fat than most fruits and vegetables provide. But, do so sparingly, because if you overdo it, you will gain unnecessary weight and be taking the risk of potential future cardiovascular penalties.

That’s precisely why I avoid processed foods and refined products. I don’t eat out or order in. The oil they add is refined. Oil makes food taste better, just like adding more salt and sugar. Olive oil is also a refined oil product. Nonetheless, you can get your olive oil eating a handful of olives. But, olives have also been processed. Does one actually need olive oil in any way shape or form?

To conclude, I have read those who eat a handful of nuts and/or seeds each day, do live longer than those who do not. But, I have never been able to eat just a handful when I have the bag sitting right in front of me. And, if I over indulge, especially if I eat raw nuts, I end up with generalized inflammation all over my body in joints, muscles and feet. This is due to its lectins. But, this is quite another story you will find in my past posts.

Source- 1 URL ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24886626
Website Title BMC medicine
Publication Day13
Publication Month May
Publication Year 2014
Access Day 05
Access Month may
Access Year 2020
Article Title Olive oil intake and risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality in the PREDIMED Study

2 Rudel l, Parks J, sawyer J. Compared with dietary monounsaturated and saturated fat,4 . polyunsaturated fat protects african green monkeys from coronary artery atherosclerosis. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol.1995;15:2101–2110.

3 Cicerale, S., Conlan, X., Sinclair, A., & Keast, R. (2009, March). Chemistry and health of olive oil phenolics. Retrieved May 03, 2020, from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19093267

4 URL ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24886626
Website Title BMC medicine
Publication Day13
Publication Month May
Publication Year 2014
Access Day 05
Access Month may
Access Year 2020
Article Title Olive oil intake and risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality in the PREDIMED Study

5 URL aboutoliveoil.org/does-olive-oil-lose-its-health-benefits-when-heated
Website Title North American Olive Oil Association
Access Day 05
Access Month may
Access Year 2020
Article Title Does olive oil lose its health benefits when heated?

*Here’s what California Olive Ranch® (you can purchase it at Stater® Bros.) has to say about benefits of their own olive oil, here.

*Be sure to download and read this PDF research before you ‘dive in’ to drizzling olive oil!

Note- before you change your diet consult your doctor.

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