What the olive can do for your heart
With the clocks "springing forward" recently, and the weather warming up enough that the windows are open in my office, I have to confess I've been letting my mind drift to thoughts of summer.
And all the delicious foods the warmer months bring.
For instance, is anything better than a farm-fresh organic tomato with a few shreds of basil and a drizzle of olive oil?
That's a mighty fruit, right there. Oh, yeah, the tomato is, sure. But I'm really talking about that olive. And two studies I read yesterday reminded me why we should all be paying more attention to this powerful little fruit.
First, it's all what a little daily drizzle of olive oil can do for your heart. That drizzle of olive oil not only sends that already-delicious tomato into the taste stratosphere, but making it a daily thing can do big things for your heart.
A study involving researchers from five European universities found that a daily dose of olive oil may boost levels of an antibody that, by countering oxidized LDL cholesterol, helps reduce the risk of hardened arteries and heart disease.
Not bad for a little bit of oil, huh?
The real action comes from the polyphenols in the olive oil. In various studies, they've been shown to have anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory properties. In this most recent study, the more polyphenols the participants consumed, the greater the increase in the heart-helping antibody.
The second study is, I confess, not about the fruit itself, but serves as an illustration of just how powerful the whole plant is. In it, an olive leaf extract was found to be an effective treatment of high blood pressure. In fact, this study showed it was just as effective as a common patent medicine!
Participants in the study showed a significant reduction in blood pressure after 8 weeks taking 500 mg of the extract twice daily. They also showed a significant reduction in triglyceride levels.