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Moms, Do Your Kids a Favor: Pour On the Olive Oil

Mar. 28, 2013|242 views
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Intriguing new research shows that some of the remarkable health benefits of extra virgin olive oil are even more profound when you begin consuming olive oil early in life.

 

Olive oil, and other fats in general, tend to get a bad rap. They’re a rich source of calories, and in decades past, all fats were portrayed as villains in the diet. But humans absolutely require some fats for optimal health. And not all fats are the same. Artificial trans-fats are toxic and should be avoided at all costs. They’re linked to heart disease and other inflammatory conditions. Saturated fats, usually found in animal products, are considered less heart-healthy than plant-based fats, which tend to be mono-unsaturated or poly-unsaturated.

 

Olive oil is a rich source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, but olive oil’s benefits extend well beyond this distinction. Extra virgin olive oil contains a host of natural molecules known as polyphenols. These compounds are now credited with providing additional health benefits. For instance, olive oil polyphenols reduce inflammation. Many or our most troubling diseases, including cancer, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, are now known to be inflammatory conditions. Other compounds in olive oil make blood cells less likely to stick together and form clots (which naturally reduces the likelihood of stroke). And olive oil compounds have been shown to reduce endothelial dysfunction, which is the underlying cause of most heart disease.

 

And here’s the thing: research suggests that the lifelong benefits of consuming extra virgin olive oil work best when consumption begins early in life. So mothers, the sooner you get your kids to consume olive oil, and only olive oil, the healthier they’re likely to be in the long run. 

 

 

Pérez-Jiménez F, Ruano J, Perez-Martinez P, Lopez-Segura F, Lopez-Miranda J. The influence of olive oil on human health: not a question of fat alone. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007 Oct;51(10):1199-208.

 

Perez-Jimenez F, Alvarez de Cienfuegos G, Badimon L, Barja G, Battino M, Blanco A, et al. International conference on the healthy effect of virgin olive oil. Eur J Clin Invest. 2005 Jul;35(7):421-4.    

Tags:  mediterranean diet, prevention, health tips
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