Health Benefits of Olive Oil
On Olive Oil in general
The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet were first discovered in the 1950’s and have withstood 50 years of rigorous scientific study. The website of the International Olive Oil Counsel (IOOC), www.internationaloliveoil.org , reminds us of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid below, and provides an extensive set of links under “Olive Oil & Health” summarizing the benefits of olive oil for each of many different health conditions – cardiovascular diseases, antioxidant properties, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, the immune system, digestion, pregnancy and childhood, aging, and skin care.
The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid
The Olive Tree World, at www.olivetree.eat-online.net/framehealth.htm, recalls the ancient beliefs about olive oil’s curative effects, and through the words of today’s experts, highlights how modern research has uncovered the scientific basis for much of this wisdom. The site also has specific information about olive oil benefits for heart health, cancer prevention and arthritis.
Excellent information and answers to olive oil medical questions are provided by Dr. Deane at www.oliveoilsource.com/oliveoildr.htm. Dr. John T. Deane graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a degree in Physiology, did postgraduate research in cholesterol metabolism and currently practices as an Internal Medicine specialist in Marin County, CA.
The IOOC has established the following quality grades for olive oil. The greatest health benefits are found in the unrefined, young virgin olive oil grades. Although it is hard to find statistics, some estimate that only about 5% of the world’s production is of Extra Virgin quality, and most analyses techniques that have been developed for testing olive oil – such as the fatty acid content and the peroxide value – are designed to identify the absence of spoilage and the presence of adulteration with seed and nut oils. In other words, they are intended to identify the fraudulent misrepresentation of oils of lower quality as ‘extra virgin’.
Grades of Olive Oil