Sometimes it gets hard to figure out which rules of nutrition are correct. Remember when eggs were bad and you could only have one per week? Remember when we were supposed to stay away from butter and eat margarine instead to avoid the cholesterol? And what about fats? It doesn’t seem all that long ago that fat was bad and should be avoided as much as possible.
Where is the truth in all this hullaballoo?
The Strengths and Weaknesses of Science
The problem with science is that it’s…well, scientific. A curious researcher somewhere tests and studies a question until they get a specific answer. And then—here’s the problem—they publicize that specific answer as a general rule.
That approach doesn’t work with diet information because our health is multi-faceted. Wholistic. A nutrition topic needs to be studied widely and for a long time in order to provide us with reliable answers.
Decades of Research
The Mediterranean Diet is a prime example of the benefits of long-term science. Way back in the early 20th century, America noticed that it had terrible levels of cardiovascular disease. America also noticed that the Mediterranean region of the world had low levels of the same disease. People in the Mediterranean region tend to live longer, healthier lives instead. Why?
A group of interested people watched and questioned and tracked this vital difference through the 1940s and 50s, then published their findings explaining the Mediterranean diet in the early 1960s. Studies and reports were published steadily over the next 30 years, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that the idea of the Mediterranean diet caught on with the public.
BUT…our nation’s slow uptake has made for some really good science! What we read about the Mediterranean diet now has been verified by research almost a century old. We can draw solid eating, health, and nutrition principles from this because it’s already been proven by time. And the Mediterranean diet teaches us that olive oil promotes better aging. That sounds like science many people would like to know more about!
How Olive Oil Promotes Better Aging
Here in America, we struggle with staggering levels of obesity, preventable disease, and early brain deterioration. Can olive oil really help with those things and help us age better? How?
- Antioxidant properties: You’ve heard it said that olive oil is a powerful antioxidant. What that means to each and every one of your cells is when olive oil (as opposed to less healthy fats) is part of your diet, your cell membranes stay strong and functional longer. The phenolic content in the olive oil actually builds healthier, longer-living cells.
- Anti-inflammatory properties: Olive also has an anti-inflammatory agent in it called oleocanthal (the same one that’s in ibuprofen). Many modern processed foods have been proven to cause inflammation in the body that acts as a continual irritant, but oleocanthal helps soothe that irritation and help your tissues and organs work better for longer.
- Longer telomeres: At the end of each of your chromosome is a cap called a telomere that protects your DNA. When our telomeres start to shorten, cellular aging and decay is occurring. Research has shown that diets high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids maintain longer, healthier telomeres.
Isn’t that cool? Olive oil fights cellular decay, soothes inflammation, and protects our DNA from breaking down early. And to get all that from a delicious food? This is anti-aging science anyone can get excited about!