Eating this common condiment regularly can add years to your life

At the center of The Mediterranean Diet (widely celebrated as one of the best in recent memory) is olive oil. 

The liquid fat is rich in antioxidants and various anti-inflammatory agents studied to promote wellness.

Olive oil can even dramatically decrease one’s risk of developing obesity. The mechanisms behind these benefits were recently explored in a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Seville.

According to their findings, orujo olive oil (widely recognized as industrial waste) curbs excessive weight gain and vascular inflammation.

The new report, published in the journal Nutrients, set out to reinstate the nutritional value of pomace olive oil (POCTA).

The protective and preventive effects of olive oil 

In order to support their thesis,  the study’s authors administered two types of diets to a crop of mouse models.

The first was a regimen high in saturated fats, referred to as prejudicial fat, while the second diet adhered to the same calorie content as the first except with orujo olive oil added to the mix.

After just ten weeks, a 30% reduction in weight was observed in the mice fed POCTA compared to the control group that was fed the high-fat diet.

“This study shows for the first time that POCTA does not only reduce body weight in obese animals but also reduces body fat (adipose tissue) and hepatic inflammation,” the authors wrote in the paper. “At the same time, it reduces resistance to insulin and vascular dysfunction associated with obesity.The results of this study open a new line of research is examining the Mediterranean diet.”

Triterpenic acids like oleanolic acid and maslinic acid appeared to explain these drastic results. Triterpenic acids denote a large group of natural compounds with diverse biological activity produced most commonly by several plant taxa.

Previously conducted research has suggested that triterpenes can mitigate vascular complications caused by hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and atherosclerosis in addition to being useful in cancer therapy in the form of anti-ulcer drugs and the prevention and treatment of chronic metabolic diseases.

A considerable amount of benefits afforded by olive oil often gets eclipsed by the controversial conversation regarding healthy fats. 

Diet media has made it easy to forget that fats are just as integral to healthy development as any other “superfood group.”  Fat and calorie intake share a complex relationship. 

Healthy fats actually lower our risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent abnormal heart rhythms, lower triglycerides levels associated with heart disease and blood pressure. Few healthy fat sources offer as many pluralistic benefits as olive oil. 

“Olive oil is the natural oil extracted from olives, the fruit of the olive tree. About 14% of the oil is saturated fat, whereas 11% is polyunsaturated, such as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. But the predominant fatty acid in olive oil is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, making up 73% of the total oil content,” Healthline reports. Apart from its beneficial fatty acids, it contains modest amounts of vitamins E and K. They also fight inflammation and help protect your blood cholesterol from oxidation — two benefits that may lower your risk of heart disease 

 CW Headley is a reporter for the Ladders and can be reached at cheadley@theladders.com