Stroke Risk Factors Reduced With Olive Oil Benefits

A new study out of France's University of Bordeaux tells us that one of the many olive oil benefits might just be the reduction in stroke risk factors. Older folks who used a lot of olive oil, regularly cooking with it and using it as dressing for salads, were over 40% less likely to suffer a stroke compared with those people who did not consume it with such relish.

The study lasted six full years, and though no one knows why the olive oil proved so helpful, the researchers believe that by replacing less healthy fats with the monounsaturated kind, we do our bodies good. Eating lots of saturated fats, meat and butter for example, have been tied to strokes.

The oleic acid or polyphenols in the oil itself could also be a factor. Experts know that polyphenols are antioxidants that are able to bring down inflammation in our blood vessels.

Strokes often come to a vascular system that's in poor shape, and the American Heart Association points out these events are third in line for cause of death. A stroke is caused by vascular bleeding, or a blockage of the flow of blood to the brain, whose cells require a constant flow of oxygen and glucose to function.

Earlier research in this area has confirmed the anti-inflammatory effect of olive oil. With the most recent study appearing in the online edition of the journal Neurology.

This latest study included 7,625 French subjects over 65 who routinely consumed extra virgin olive oil. The work took into account stroke risk factors like alcohol use, smoking, high blood pressure and exercise.

After six years of monitoring, 148 strokes happened, but those who consumed the most olive oil had a far lower risk, 41% lower, in comparison with those who didn't use any olive oil (23% of the study sample). The overall number for stroke rate for those who consumed olive oil was 1.5 and 2.6 for the rest.

Curiously, a second sample from the study brought some different findings. Measurement for Oleic acid were taken, via blood sample, of 1,245 subjects. In this group, 27 strokes happened during the study, with a 73% lower chance of stroke in those with high concentrations of oleic acid. What's strange is that this higher level is linked to higher intake of butter and fat from goose or duck. Getting a handle on the level of oleic acid in the body is an area that calls for further study.

Nutrition experts caution that despite olive oil benefits, people need to remember that it is also a fat that is high in calories, and shouldn't be over-used to protect against any health issue, including stroke risk factors. The research shows that a diet rich in olive oil does do something in terms of protection, but more work needs to be done in terms of just how much is good, while still keeping to a generally low-fat diet. According experts, the American diet does not lack fats. Fat is essential for healthy looking skin and hair, as well as the processing of some vitamins, so its not all bad. The trouble comes from the type of fats, and just how much of them, we are taking in to our bodies.

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