08 Nov

Is olive oil really a source of antioxidants?

Olive oil contains antioxidants called phenols. The amount of phenols varies depending on how the oil is produced. Virgin and extra virgin oils are higher in these phenols than more refined light olive oils.

According to a new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, all olive oil raises HDL (“good”) cholesterol slightly, but the oils with more phenols have a greater effect on HDL and decrease cell damage more effectively.
In addition, olive oil supplies Vitamin E, which is also an antioxidant. Although its content of vitamin E is lower than several of the more polyunsaturated vegetable oils, such as sunflower and safflower, olive oil is composed mainly of monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are less likely to break down and form free radicals, which can cause DNA damage.

Human studies seem to suggest that compared to other fats, olive oil decreases the “bad” form of LDL cholesterol, raises antioxidant levels in the blood and possibly leads to less of the DNA damage that can be part of how cancer begins.

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