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Is olive oil really healthy?

I have always heard that olive oil is good for you, that it lowers LDL levels, that it is a staple of Mediterranean diets. But looking at the label it is all fat, and nothing else. I'm sure it is better than other oils, but isn't fat fat?

Tue. Feb 6, 8:40am

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Olive oil contains a type of fat known as monounsaturated fat that can lower cholesterol levels when eaten instead of saturated fats. However, olive oil contains about the same amount of total fat grams and calories as other types of fats.

Olive oil is almost unique among oils in that it can be consumed in the crude form without refining. This has the effect of conserving all its vitamins, essential fatty acids, and other nutrients. Because it contains all these nutrients, including powerful antioxidants, real extra virgin olive oil is beneficial to health and protects us from damage by free radical oxidation. Cell membranes contain fatty acids that are highly susceptible to free radical damage. This damage produces lipid peroxides that can kill the cell. Real olive oil contains polyphenols, vitamin E, and other natural antioxidants that prevent this damage.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007, 9:06 AM

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The mediterranean diet is a bit of a myth these days. 40 years ago people there worked the fields and such, ate lots of veggies beans and fish. Now they are much less active and their diet has shifted to more meat and cheese. And they have started to gain weight, just like everywhere else in the developed world. Despite the good effect on health, olive oil is a fat, and if you are overweight you gotta take it easy on it.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007, 9:18 AM

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I wouldn't add extra oil to my diet. OTOH, I substituted olive oil for butter, margerine and other oils already in my diet, except when it comes to baked goods like cookies.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007, 9:33 AM

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I read an article on that said olive oil revs up your metabolism.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007, 9:51 AM

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I work with a nutritionist, who actually ADDED fat to my diet. We're in the early stages of this process, and I'm just waiting for her to give me flak for choosing butter over olive oil.

Anyway, I believe the big fuss that puts extra virgin olive oil above all others is that it's mostly monounsaturated, contains more anti-oxidants, and I think Omega fatty acids too. Research is showing that it improves digestive functioning and helps prevent colon cancer, and on a more superficial level, improves skin quality.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007, 11:53 AM

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