More Good News for Olive Oil

August 17, 2012 in General Nutrition, Mediterranean Lifestyle, Research by Mary Ireland

Due to a technical error on my part, my blog post did not get published to the Foodland Chronicles last week – so I’m publishing it this week.

There are two terrific articles published this month that support the Mediterranean style of eating. One was the subject of Dr. Grandma’s last blog post, More Bad News for Red Meat. The research she cites indicates that eating red meat significantly increases the risk of ischemic stroke. The day after that blog was posted, an article in Science Daily announced research findings that eating a Mediterranean diet enriched with olive oil is associated with bone health. This could be an example of when one door closes another is opened.

Although the two studies have different areas of focus (one stroke, the other bone health) there is ample research cited throughout our blog posts that red meat doesn’t promote good health and that a Mediterranean style of eating does. You can read about all of the benefits of a Mediterranean style of eating by clicking here.

Even though the Mediterranean basin has the lowest incident of osteoporosis in Europe and
experimental and in vitro models have been related to the prevention of osteoporosis a diet rich in olive, no research had been done on humans. The results to be published in the October issue of the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM) are from a study of 127 men aged 55 to 80 years. The participants were assigned to one of the three diet groups: Mediterranean diet with mixed nuts, Mediterranean diet with virgin olive oil, and a low-fat diet.

According to the lead author, José Manuel Fernández-Real, MD, PhD, of Hospital Dr. Josep Trueta in Girona, Spain, the study showed that those participants who ate a Mediterranean diet with olive oil had a significant increase in the concentrations of total osteocalcin and other bone formation markers. In addition to its effect on bone formation, osteocalcin is believed to influence metabolism — it causes the the pancreas to release more insulin, while causing fat cells increase sensitivity to insulin.

In other great news about olive oil, studies conducted at the University of East Anglia (UEA) found that people with a diet rich in oleic acid, which is present in olive oil, are far less likely to develop ulcerative colitis. The researchers studied more than 25,000 people aged 40-65 living in Norfolk, UK. The participants kept detailed food diaries. Analysis revealed that those participants whose diets were highest in oleic acid had a 90% lower risk of developing ulcerative colitis.

Researchers believe that oleic acid blocks chemicals in the bowel that aggravate the inflammation characteristic of ulcerative colitis. The researchers also estimated that approximately 50% of the cases of the disease could be prevented by including two to three tablespoons of olive oil each day in the diet. This simple remedy could provide relief to the approximately 1 million people in the United States with ulcerative colitis, of which an estimated 25% to 40% have their colons removed. These studies are just a few examples showing that what you eat can have a huge impact on your health and quality of life.

Dr. Grandma’s recipes are an easy and tasty way to incorporate the Mediterranean style of eating into your life. Dr. Grandma also has great tips that will help you stay with your healthy food plan. Explore our website and learn more about healthy living – the Mediterranean way.