Olive Oil: good not just for your heart, but your brain too!

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It almost seems like you must be living under a rock these days if you haven’t heard the many accolades of olive oil.  Olive Oil is a fabulous source of monounsaturated fatty acids and phenols (antioxidants), which make this fat a nutritional powerhouse.  It’s a one-two punch: not only does it supply good fats, it’s a great source of antioxidants (anti-aging, anti-Alzheimer’s, and cancer and infection fighting heroes!).  There has been a lot of press about olive oil’s benefits for cholesterol levels and significant reduction of heart attack risk.  Breaking news: olive oil reduces your risk for stroke by 41%!!!  Here’s the short version of the article: Olive Oil reduces risk of Stroke.

I presented that journal article this past week to my fellow residents, which actually went over really well.  Everyone got in on the discussion, looking up info about olive oil.  For example, it’s recommended to have 2 Tablespoons of olive oil every day- That’s more that I realized!  We also discussed the differences between Extra Virgin, Virgin, and non-virgin olive oil, and the other aspects of the Mediterranean diet that may have health benefits.  As it turns out, I have many fellow residents interested in just this sort of thing (like me!)!  It was a fun and interesting lecture!

And in this short abstract, you can read about how not eating a Mediterranean diet is equivalent to having high blood pressure, in terms of the brain damage both high blood pressure and a non Mediterranean diet produce.  Interestingly enough, those regions of the brain which are damaged by high blood pressure (and a non Mediterranean diet) are also damaged in those with Alzheimer’s Disease- indicating a link between high blood pressure, a non Mediterranean diet, infarcts/strokes, and Alzheimer’s Disease.  Lower your risk for stroke = lower your risk for Alzheimer’s Disease, too.  

So, besides olive oil, which parts of the Mediterranean diet are imperative to eat?  And how much?  Here’s another article on the foods of the Mediterranean Diet which reduce risk for strokes (and heart attacks, too) and it tells you how much of each thing to eat! Mediterranean Diet: what to eat?  It’s an incredible resource!

In conclusion, I say eat your olive oil!!  Why wouldn’t you use olive oil, now that we all know what an AWESOME fat it is?!  Here’s a trick I’ve learned, too- if a recipe calls for butter, or you prefer the taste of butter, melt a small pat of butter with your olive oil to make butter flavored olive oil!  It’s better than just using butter because you still get all those benefits of olive oil, but it really tastes like butter!

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