Olive Oil: The Next Wonder Drug
By Anthony G. Alessi, MD – Healthy Rounds
The Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, nuts, vegetables and grains. It is the foundation for diets seen throughout countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. Interestingly, vascular disease is much less common in people who follow this diet.
When adopted over a period of years, patients have been known to reverse plaque that clogs blood vessels. The implications of this diet for cardiac disease are obvious. Reopening vital circulatory passages has an important effect in terms of longevity.
The impact of a diet rich in vegetables and grains in the field of neurology has only recently been noted. When combined with appropriate medications, the risk of stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases is reduced.
Many chronic neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease may also be helped by a Mediterranean diet.
A major component of a Mediterranean Diet is high olive oil consumption. Olive oil use has been associated with lower risk of heart attack, lower risk of death from heart attack and decreased thickness of the carotid artery.
A recent study published in the medical journal, Neurology, looked at olive oil consumption and stroke incidence. The study compared groups of patients who never used olive oil to those who frequently used olive oil.
The group with high use of olive oil had a 41 percent lower incidence of stroke.
Although it is normal to search for one “magic bullet” when dealing with illness, even this study must be taken in the context of other interventions. A Mediterranean Diet rich in olive oil is most effective when combined with exercise and control of risk factors.
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