How olive oil reduces your risk of a heart attack and stroke
(NaturalHealth365) Anyone who’s ever researched how to improve their health has almost certainly heard of the Mediterranean diet. Originally considered the “poor man’s diet” back in places like traditional Greece, Italy, and Morocco, this heart healthy diet is a popular modern day option for people looking to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease – the consequences of which include a heart attack and stroke.
Among the nutrient-dense foods featured in the Mediterranean diet – including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts – is one of the healthiest fats we know of: olive oil. Olive oil has long been recognized as heart healthy…but how? Perhaps it’s time to better understand why.
The evidence is here: Olive oil reduces the risk of clots and strokes
A blood clot is a small mass of congealed platelets, proteins, and other interstitial compounds. If a clot becomes big enough, it can block blood vessels, starving tissues of oxygenated blood and nutrients. Clots can also travel into organs such as the heart or brain and lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Amazingly, research suggests that regularly consuming extra virgin olive oil can help prevent these dangerous blood clots.
Here’s how: olive oil has been shown to boost the levels of HDL cholesterol – the “healthy” or “good” cholesterol that we want more of. Specifically, olive oil boosts the levels of a compound called apoA-IV, which is part of HDL.
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ApoA-IV can help prevent platelets from aggregating, or abnormally sticking together. Therefore, this olive-oil boosted compound can reduce the risk of blood clots from forming.
This isn’t even the only way olive oil consumption can reduce the risk of heart disease. Extra virgin olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which are known to be anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. These properties can improve the strength and health of cardiovascular tissues including the heart, arteries, vessels, and capillaries.
Interestingly, platelet activity has been shown to increase during the post-prandial period (right after eating). This partially explain why heart attacks tend to occur after heavy meals…and may also explain how adding olive to your food can protect your ticker!
Just one warning: be sure you’re getting good quality olive oil – there are lots of poor quality, ‘fake’ brands on the market.
The question now is: what type of olive oil should you choose?
Not all olive oils were created equal – how to select and use the right olive oil
Go to any grocery store and you’ll see shelves full of olive oil. Which one’s worth your money?
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Go for cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil (organic if possible). Yes, they’re more expensive…but you get what you pay for. It’s worth spending a bit extra to make sure you’re getting a high quality product – and one that tastes better, to boot!
- Choose reputable companies and know what’s in your bottle! We’ve reported before that many types of imported olive oils contain hazardous chemicals. Consider checking out sources like the California Olive Oil Council for vetting olive oil companies.
- Pick olive oil in green glass bottles. Exposure to light can damage the healthy fats in olive oil, and plastic containers may leech toxins into your product.
In addition to choosing the right high quality product, be sure to use olive oil correctly. Olive oil actually has a relatively low smoke point, and if you heat it then its healthy compounds can begin to degrade – leaving potentially inflammatory molecules behind.
Instead of using it to cook, try these great ways to enjoy your olive oil:
- Drizzled on a fresh salad
- Mixed into soups, hummus, and dips
- Tossed into steamed dark, leafy green veggies like, kale or collard greens
Editor’s note: For more information about high-quality olive oil, listen to this NaturalHealth365 Podcast, ‘Unheard of facts and truths revealed.’
Sources for this article include: