Olive Oil and Artery Function

“Olive Oil and Artery Function” The relative paralysis
of our arteries for hours after eating fast food and cheesecake
may also occur after olive oil. Olive oil was found to have the same
impairment in endothelial function as the rest of these high-fat meals. Sausage and Egg McMuffin was the
worst, but olive oil wasn’t far behind. Studies that have suggested endothelial
benefits after olive oil consumption have measured something
different: ischemia-induced as opposed to flow-mediated dilation. And there’s just not good
evidence that that’s actually an index of endothelial function,
which is what predicts heart disease. Hundreds of studies have
shown that this other test can give a false negative result.
But it’s not just olive oil. Other oils have also been shown
to have deleterious effects – a significant constant decrease
in endothelial function three hours after each meal,
independent of the type of oil or whether the oil was
fresh or deep fried. Olive may be better
than omega-6 rich oils, or saturated fats, but still
showed adverse effects. But this study was done
on regular refined olive oil. What about extra virgin? Extra virgin olive oil retains a fraction
of the anti-inflammatory phytonutrients found in the olive fruit,
and so it does not appear to induce the same kind of spike
in inflammatory markers caused by regular olive oil. But what
does that mean for our arteries? Extra virgin olive oil may have
more of a neutral effect, compared to butter, which
exerted a noxious effect that lasted for up to six hours,
basically right up to the next meal. In the largest prospective
study ever to assess the relationship between
olive oil consumption and cardiac events like heart
attacks, there was a suggestion that virgin olive oil may be
better than regular olive oil. But neither was found to significantly
reduce heart attack rates after controlling for healthy dietary
behaviors like vegetable intake, which tends to go hand and
hand with olive oil intake. There have been studies, though,
showing even extra virgin olive oil, contrary to expectations, may significantly
impair endothelial function as well. So why do some studies suggest
people’s endothelial function improves on a Mediterranean diet,
a diet rich in olive oil? Perhaps because it’s
also rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans,
walnuts as well. Dietary fruits and vegetables
appear to provide some protection against the direct impairment
on endothelial function produced by high-fat foods,
including olive oil. So improvements in health may be in
spite of, rather than because of, the oil. In terms of their effects on postprandial
endothelial function after a meal, the beneficial components
of the Mediterranean diet may primarily be the
antioxidant-rich foods, the vegetables, fruits, and their
derivatives such as balsamic vinegar. Just adding some vegetables
to a fatty meal may partially restore arterial functioning and blood flow.

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