Will A Dose Of Extra Virgin Olive Oil A Day Keep The Doctor Away?

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New Research Shows The Best Olive Oil Can Lead To A Long Life

Extra Virgin Olive Oil And Longevity
Extra Virgin Olive Oil And Longevity

A new study claims that daily consumption of extra virgin olive oil may contribute to the extraordinary longevity of a small population on the island of Sardinia.

According to a report in The Olive Oil Times, the new research explains that – in one of the Longevity Blue Zones (areas where an unusual number of people live exceptionally long lives) – specific eating habits in addition to extensive daily physical activities have ‘outrun genetics’ as a longevity factor. 

Giovanni Pes, Medical Science Researcher at University of Sassari (where the study was carried out), said: “As expected, the analysis showed a beneficial health effect of the increased olive oil intake on self-perceived health, physical performance and sense organs functionality.”

After initially focussing on the history of the island of Sardinia, isolated from mainland Italy, with its homogenous genetic history, researchers looked at other explanations for the exceptional longevity of its population.

Pes explained: “Our research, as well as many others, carried out here and elsewhere, hint at the fact that there is no direct correlation between genetic characteristics of the observed population and their longevity.  Lifestyle, nutrition, physical activity and social bonding must have played a more significant role in determining the Longevity Blue Zone characteristics than genetics.”

Mediterranean Diet And Longevity
Mediterranean Diet And Longevity

The study looked at those traits in a sample of 150 of the island’s oldest residents – aged between 90 and 101 years.

“Our research focused on their food choices at younger ages, investigating their dietary history,” Pes said.

“While all limits on research based on the memory of the interviewed sample must be considered, we believe that during their nutrition transition, their eating habits have improved because they ate similarly to the Mediterranean diet.”

The Mediterranean diet has been linked with good health, including a healthier heart. Could the use of olive oil a day help with good health?

As explained by The Olive Oil Times, over the last few decades, olive oil production has been expanding in Ogliastra, which sits at the heart of the Longevity Blue Zone. High quality extra virgin olive oil is now produced and consumed by the local residents.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil And Age Related Disease
Extra Virgin Olive Oil And Age Related Disease

A study has shown that Extra Virgin olive oil like Morocco Gold is the secret Mediterranean ingredient that can extend life and delay age-related diseases when combined with fasting

Scientists at the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Departments of Medicine and Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics revealed their findings in Molecular Cell.

It had been previously believed red wine was the reason for long life and good health among those living in the Mediterranean, thanks to its compound resveratrol that activates a pathway in cells for a positive influence on the body. However, lead author of the study Professor Doug Mashek has proved otherwise.

During his research, which has been published in Science Daily, he discovered that the fat in Extra Virgin olive oil is actually the ingredient that activates this pathway instead. However, having a diet rich in premium olive oil only goes so far to improve health, according to the researchers. For maximum benefits, it needs to be coupled with limiting caloric intake and exercising.

Mr Mashek stated: “We found that the way this fat works is it first has to get stored in microscopic things called lipid droplets, which is how our cells store fat. And then, when the fat is broken down during exercising or fasting, for example, is when the signalling and beneficial effects are realised.”

Therefore, fasting or taking part in physical activity is essential to make the most of extra virgin olive oil’s health benefits.

These findings could encourage more people around the world – and not just those living in the Mediterranean – to increase their olive oil intake by including it in their recipes and using it to cook with.

“We want to understand the biology, and then translate it to humans, hopefully changing the paradigm of healthcare from someone going to eight different doctors to treat his or her eight different disorders,” he commented, adding: “These are all aging-related diseases, so let’s treat aging.”

Over the years, there have been several studies that have concluded extra virgin olive oil has numerous health benefits. This is predominantly due to its phytonutrients, including polyphenols, which are found in olive oil in abundance. This antioxidant neutralises free radicals, helping to protect the body against harm.

As a result, research has shown links between Extra virgin olive oil and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, good digestive health, reduction in blood pressure, healthy cholesterol levels, lessening the severity of osteoporosis, and preventing the onset of diabetes.

It can also be used as an anti-inflammatory, while animal studies have shown a connection between olive oil and the prevention of some cancers. While more research needs to be conducted to prove this link, the European Food Safety Agency has confirmed health claims for extra virgin olive oils that contain more than 250mg/kg of polyphenol.

So get drizzling it on your salad, baking with it, or adding it to your roast potatoes today!