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Health & Nutrition
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Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Extra Virgin Olive OilOne of the oldest known cultivated foods is the olive. Evidence shows that humans were cultivating olives more than 8,000 years ago. Since ancient times, the olive tree has provided food, fuel, and medicine for many civilizations. Olive oil has anointed the noblest heads throughout history. It has been used as a soap, a skin conditioner and sun block. The olive and the olive branch has long been regarded as a symbol of peace, friendship, wisdom and victory. Olive culture has ancient roots and only in recent years have we had hard scientific data to back up what our ancestors already knew using olive oil has tangible, positive effects on your health.

The U.S. Surgeon General reported "Eating less (saturated) fat is the most important change you can make to decrease your risk of heart disease." As long as people don't increase the number of calories they consume daily, the (Food & Drug Administration) FDA confirmed a reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease when people replace foods high in saturated fat with the monounsaturated fat in olive oil. The FDA has affirmed the following claim regarding the health benefits of olive oil "Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the Extra Virgin Olive Oilrisk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil. To achieve this possible benefit, olive oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day."*1Pure Olive Oil

Karen Collins, R.D. of MSNBC writes " The Mediterranean diet includes a large proportion of fish, which is rich in omega-3 fats that reduce inflammation, which seems to raise both heart and cancer risks. An abundance of fruits, vegetables and beans provides the many different phytochemicals that protect blood vessels and guard cells against cancer-causing substances. Now, studies show that olive oil may bolster each one of these benefits. Originally, scientists thought olive oil’s primary benefit was its monounsaturated fat. "

Is extra virgin olive oil better than regular olive oil? All types of olive oil provide monounsaturated fat, but "extra-virgin" or "virgin" olive oils are the least processed forms. As a result, they contain the highest levels of polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant. To get the benefits of olive oil and other healthy foods a balance has to be struck between physical activity and diet. Whether you choose the Mediterranean diet or another a healthy lifestyle is the goal. Live well, eat healthy, choose Pastene.

Note! Medical conditions or problems should be discussed with your doctor. Good nutrition is not a substitute for medical treatments and a doctor's care.

Further Reading
The University of Maryland Medical Center: Useful resource
American Heart Association: Very up to date (The American Heart Association is a national voluntary health agency to help reduce disability and death from cardiovascular diseases and stroke.)
FDA: Always useful
Consumer Affairs: Short article
Business Network: Short Article

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