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Olive oil: What are the health benefits?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-and-nutrition/AN01037
- With Mayo Clinic preventive medicine specialist
Donald Hensrud, M.D.read biographyclose window
Donald Hensrud, M.D.Donald Hensrud, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.
Dr. Donald D. Hensrud is chair of the Division of Preventive, Occupational and Aerospace Medicine with a joint appointment in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Metabolism, & Nutrition at Mayo Clinic. He is an associate professor of preventive medicine and nutrition at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. Dr. Hensrud directed the Executive Health Program at Mayo Clinic for more than 10 years.
He received his B.S. from the University of North Dakota, M.D. from the University of Hawaii, M.P.H. from the University of Minnesota and M.S. in nutrition sciences from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He completed residency training in internal medicine and fellowship training in preventive medicine at Mayo Clinic and completed a clinical nutrition fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Dr. Hensrud is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, the American Board of Preventive Medicine and the American Board of Physician Nutrition Specialists, of which he is a past president.
His career interests have combined nutrition, weight management, and prevention. He is the author of many scientific articles and book chapters and was editor of Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for EveryBody; The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook, which won a 2005 James Beard Foundation award; The Mayo Clinic Plan: 10 Essential Steps to a Better Body & Healthier Life; and The Mayo Clinic Diet, published in January 2010.
Dr. Hensrud says healthy lifestyle habits in diet and physical activity are extremely important as evidenced by a large body of scientific evidence. He also says implementing these lifestyle habits is realistic, sustainable and enjoyable. A primary goal of his work is to help people achieve this.
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Olive oil: What are the health benefits?
If olive oil is high in fat, why is it considered healthy?
from Donald Hensrud, M.D.
The main type of fat found in all kinds of olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). MUFAs are actually considered a healthy dietary fat. If your diet emphasizes unsaturated fats, such as MUFAs and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), instead of saturated fats and trans fats, you may gain certain health benefits.
MUFAs and PUFAs may help lower your risk of heart disease by improving related risk factors. For instance, MUFAs may lower your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. MUFAs may also help normalize blood clotting. And some research shows that MUFAs may also benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes.
But even healthier fats like olive oil are high in calories, so use them only in moderation. Choose MUFA-rich foods such as olive oil instead of other fatty foods — particularly butter and stick margarine — not in addition to them. And remember that you can't make unhealthy foods healthier simply by adding olive oil to them.
Also, be aware that heat, light and air can affect the taste of olive oil and possibly its health-promoting nutrients. Store olive oil in a dark, room-temperature cupboard, or even in the refrigerator. The fats and healthy phytonutrients in olive oil — as well as the taste — can slowly degrade over time, so it's probably best to use it within a year or within six months once opened.Next question
Coffee and health: What does the research say?
- Whitney E, et al. Understanding Nutrition. 12th ed. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Cengage Learning; 2011.
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-PolicyDocument.htm. Accessed Jan. 31, 2011.
- White B. Dietary fatty acids. American Family Physician. 2009;80:345.
- Paniagua J, et al. A MUFA-rich diet improves postprandial glucose, lipid and GLP-1 responses in insulin-resistant subjects. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2007;26:434.
- Lecerf JM. Fatty acids and cardiovascular disease. Nutrition Reviews. 2009;67:273.
- Hensrud DD (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 24, 2011.
- Nelson JK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 25, 2011.