Heart Health -blog #1
May 15, 2020
Hello Everyone! My name is Julie Brochu. I am a physical therapist and health and wellness enthusiast. I have studied nutrition for almost 40 years. I’m a local girl and a graduate of Texas Woman’s University. I have a M.S.P.T. in Physical Therapy, B.S. in Human Biology with a minor in Chemistry, extensive studies in molecular biology, microbiology, biochemistry, and virology. AND, I am a huge science nerd. Just ask my husband, Charles Flach. When he told me he wanted to start a business selling the best EVOOs in the world I was ecstatic! I’m pretty sure I bored him to tears with all the medical and scientific jargon. I was very excited about the health benefits, while (being the chef) his excitement was on the culinary side. EVOO not only tastes DELICIOUS, it is AMAZING for your body. I’ve been doing lots of research on EVOO ever since he opened THE VIRGIN OLIVE OILER and am so excited to share the information I have gathered from research studies and articles to help us live a long and healthy life. I will be writing a weekly blog addressing different aspects of olive oil and your health, as well as responding to your questions! Let’s start at the beginning.
What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), and is it good or bad for us? Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is considered a monounsaturated fat (MUFA) comprised primarily of omega-9 fatty acids. Without delving too deeply into the chemistry, I’ll focus on the primary fatty acid in EVOO, Oleic acid and the polyphenols (antioxidants). Multiple studies have shown HOW IMPORTANT this fatty acid is for every organ system in your body. There has been a lot of controversy over the years regarding health and intake of oils. Should we limit fat? People are always trying to lose weight and cut fat out of their diets. This is bad for several reasons. We NEED fat. It is in every cell in our bodies. If you cut fat out of your diet, it becomes difficult for your body to make repairs at a cellular level. Not to mention producing hormones, brain function and much, much more!
So… OBVIOUSLY, we need fat. How do we choose a fat that will benefit us? EVOO is on the shelves of most grocery stores, but how do you know what you are getting? EVOO is one of the most counterfeited foods in the world. It’s costly to produce There’s a reason why the healing properties and health benefits of extra virgin olive oil have been touted over the last centuries. Hippocrates sang the praises of olive oil. Homer called the substance “liquid gold.” Now, we have the science to back it up. It is CRUCIAL to choose an EVOO based on the chemistry. If there is no crush date, or analysis of the properties in the oil, you truly have no idea how old that oil is (devoid of polyphenols), where it came from or what other cheaper oils have been added to produce more volume. KNOW YOUR OIL!!! Now that we have THE VIRGIN OLIVE OILER in Fort Worth, we have a variety of the freshest oils on the planet at our fingertips. If your focus is primarily health, choose a HIGH polyphenol oil. It is going to have the highest levels of antioxidants to protect against cancer and cardiovascular incidents. I’m personally taking the robusto Frantoio from Spain. It has 771 ppm polyphenols. This is a LOT folks. I’m seeing all the benefits as well and will share more about this later.
Let’s start with our cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels).
How does oleic acid help our heart? A study in 2015 demonstrates it performs a “protective role against cardiovascular insulin resistance” and in BOTH early and late cellular atherosclerosis process. Okay, let’s break that down. It can help PROTECT us from diabetes type 2, stabilizing blood sugar, prevent and reverse hardening of the arteries. WOW. This is HUGE. We need this weapon in our lives. Let’s delve deeper.
It lowers Cholesterol. Now, cholesterol is very essential in the body. It plays a critical role in enhancing brain health and memory, maintaining hormone balance, enabling sexual function and keeping your skin and cell membranes intact. Our bodies can make all the cholesterol we need. The problem lies in that we LIKE animal products. Guess what? They make their own cholesterol too! So, go ahead and enjoy that steak. Just understand, your body now HAS to deal with the extra cholesterol. While you’re at it, go ahead and enjoy that dessert. Your body is going to take that excess sugar and turn it into triglycerides. These are fatty particles that can “gunk up” the walls of your arteries and interfere with blood flow. Over a period of time, too much sugar in the bloodstream can create inflammation (our body’s natural response to injury), which is well-documented for heart risk. When this goes on unchecked, it can result in dangerous buildup of plaques and stiffening of your arteries that can lead to heart attack and stroke. These damaged areas inside your blood vessels get sticky. Your body tries to repair the damage to the lining of the arteries caused by elevated blood sugar and free radicals (cause cancer) by coating them with a waxy substance to keep the blood flowing. What is this substance? You guessed it! CHOLESTEROL. LDLs are the bad guys in cholesterol, while HDLs are the good guys. Studies show it is important for cardiovascular health to have a balanced good/bad (HDL/LDL) cholesterol ratio. Hmm… think about this for a sec. The Western diet is rich in meat and processed foods, resulting in weight gain, inflammation, diabetes type 2, fatty liver disease, heart attack, stroke and many more problems. When cholesterol is high, doctors will often prescribe statin drugs to lower cholesterol. Statin drugs are the most prescribed medication in the world. The number of adults (>18) using these drugs increased in a 10 year period from 17.6 million annually (2000-2001) to 40.8 million (2010-2011). The cost of these drugs for the same time periods increased from $34 million to $4.2 billion in the U.S. alone!! Holy moly! I don’t know of any other business models that have that financial outcome in a 10 year investment period. The pharmaceutical companies are bleeding us dry! I don’t know about you, but I work far too hard for my money to spend it on a drug that could cause a lot more issues and lead to needing other medications. The side effects of statin drugs cause a myriad of other issues including damage to liver, muscle tissue, memory and concentration, mood, pain, peripheral neuropathy, sleep issues, dizziness, sense of detachment and sexual dysfunction. (study by Beatrice Golomb USC San Diego). WHAT????? No thank you. Anther study looked at the effects caused by lowered cholesterol side effects. Their conclusion: “Adjusting for other factors, low cholesterol is associated with increased subsequent criminal violence.” Here, they are considering ‘low cholesterol’ as meaning below the median. So, the pharmaceutical companies have convinced MDs to prescribe these medications. After all, heart disease is the #1 killer. Hmm...are we creating a violent society?
What if you can avoid taking medication and NATURALLY lower your cholesterol to whatever level your body needs it to be (homeostasis)? Several recent studies have demonstrated that many of these conditions have been reversed when oleic acid is the choice fat. How does it do this? Oleic Acid (OA) to the rescue! Studies show oleic acid INTERFERES directly with the inflammatory response that leads to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), resulting in more pliable, smooth artery allowing unimpeded blood flow. Antioxidants (phenols) in EVOO also play a role in lowering cholesterol naturally. However, The combination of OA + antioxidants accomplished the most cholesterol lowering activity without affecting cell viability. This is AMAZING!! That means, by changing the type of fat I put in my body, I can change my health. A daily dose of EVOO will help to protect my heart, blood vessels and so much more. AND… I get to enjoy my steak and dessert once in a while too!
I look forward to questions, comments and personal stories from you!
Next week’s focus is on how oleic acid affects your liver and pancreas to help you lose those stubborn pounds just hanging around.