The next time you reach for cooking oil, grab a bottle of extra virgin olive oil. Full of monounsaturated fats, olive oil is the only natural vegetable oil that can be directly consumed. A staple of the Mediterranean diet, find out why extra virgin olive oil is linked to low blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Researching the Health Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Studying the effects of using extra virgin olive oil with a diet based around fruits, vegetables, fish, and grains, researchers from Sapienza University in Rome have come to the conclusion that the olive oil can lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels, limiting the effects they have on the cardiovascular system.
Researchers studied 25 healthy people after eating two separate Mediterranean meals. For the first meal, 10 grams of extra virgin olive oil was added to the food. For the second meal, the olive oil was replaced with corn oil.
Before the meals were consumed, all of the participants had blood tests to measure their blood sugar levels. They were tested again, two after each meal. After both meals, all of the participants had increased blood sugar levels, a normal body reaction to eating a meal, but the blood sugar levels did not rise as high after the meal containing extra virgin olive oil.
The study backed what researchers already thought – that consuming the extra virgin olive oil could help with blood sugar levels, but they were surprised to find that it also lowered the levels of bad LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol can lead to blood clots and an increased risk of heart attack.
Additionally, when participants in the study consumed corn oil, they had significantly higher measurements of LDL cholesterol, when compared to the meals that contained extra virgin olive oil.
The researchers are the first to admit that this was a small study. It did not test for the effects of adding corn oil when compared to using no oil at all and they did not use a large test group. Despite the size of the study, researchers still believe that the study points towards a link between consuming extra virgin olive oil and lowering cholesterol and blood sugar.
Obviously, more research needs to be performed to fully understand the health benefits of using olive oil, but the signs are promising. This does not give you the endorsement to rush out and pour extra virgin olive oil on all of your meals; though, you should consider using it in place of other fats, such as corn oil.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 17.5 million people died in 2012 from heart disease or stroke. Whenever a new study shines a light on a potential method of improving cardiovascular health, the results should be thoroughly examined. Hopefully, this study will lead to further research and an exploration into the full range of advantages to using extra virgin olive oil.
When you need to use some cooking oil, reach for the extra virgin olive oil. It contains less fat than other vegetable oils and is full of healthy antioxidants and monounsaturated fat. If you worry about your low blood sugar or the health of your heart, you may want to switch to extra virgin olive oil.
This Site Was Inspired By An Interest in Protecting the Environment
We had the privilege and joy of learning from Dr. Charlie Stine who instilled a love for the natural world through incredible field trips with the Johns Hopkins Odyssey Certificate program in Environmental Studies. At the time, the program was endorsed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Sadly, after Dr. Stine retired, the program was phased out. We hope that we honor his legacy by shining a bright light on environmental issues and sharing good news about the success of various conservation programs when possible.
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