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Olive Oil Protects Your Heart

There is strong epidemiological evidence that olive oil offers significant cardioprotective benefits. In plain English, olive oil is good for the heart.

Heart disease. Like all vegetable oils, olive oil is 100 percent fat, and fat is a prime contributor to heart disease and cancer. So how could olive oil be good for the heart? The reason appears to be that it is neither saturated, like the fats in meats, butter, and dairy products, nor polyunsaturated, like the fat in many other oils. It is monounsaturated. Greeks and Italians consume almost as much total fat as Americans do - most of it in the form of olive oil - but have heart disease rates considerably lower than ours. In fact, Americans should eat like people in those Mediterranean countries. It was argued to junk the USDA's new Food Pyramid, which recommends meat and dairy products two or three times a day, and replace it with a Mediterranean Pyramid, which discourages meat and dairy foods and promotes a semi-vegetarian diet with olive oil as the major source of fat. Of course, like any fat, olive oil should be used sparingly in the context of a low-fat diet. But recent research suggests that this tasty oil is a real healer.

Olive oil, particularly extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil, is high in nutrients that help prevent the development of plaques that clog arteries and increase heart attack risk. Olive oil also raises levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL, the "good" cholesterol) and lowers the level of low-density lipoproteins (LDL, the "bad" cholesterol). In addition, olive oil helps prevent the blood clots that trigger heart attack. Blood clots form when special blood cells, called platelets, clump together and stick to coronary artery walls. In one study, volunteers took three-quarters of a tablespoon of olive oil twice a day in addition to their regular diet. By the end of the eight weeks, blood tests showed that their platelets were significantly less likely to clump.

Stroke. Many studies show that olive oil also lowers blood pressure, a key risk factor not only for heart attack but also for stroke. A study by researchers showed that two-thirds of a tablespoon of olive oil a day lowered systolic blood pressure (the first number in the pair used to express blood pressure) by about nine points and diastolic blood pressure (the second number) by six points.

Raymond Lee Geok Seng is one of the foremost experts in the health and fitness industry and is a writer specializing in body health, muscle development and dieting. He has spent countless of time and efforts conducting research and share his insightful and powerful secrets to benefit men and women all over the world. He is currently the author of the latest edition of "Neck Exercises and Workouts." Visit http://www.bodyfixes.com for more information.

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