EVOO vs The Big Killers - Blog #35
Hello Everyone and welcome back to another Friday blog! Today I want to take a look at the latest reports on the big killers here in the USA, focusing on the number 1 killer, and what we can do about it. First, let’s identify the top killers according to the CDC’s report for 2019:
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published this chart that includes 2020 and Covid 19 information as well:
Okay, so heart disease or cardiovascular disease (CVD) is still the #1 killer in the USA, responsible for nearly 691,000 deaths in 2020, increasing by nearly 30,000 from 2019. According to the CDC, 1 of every 4 deaths is due to CVD. The pandemic was responsible for around 345,000. According to the WHO, CDC, NPR and other sources, COVID-19 was the third highest killer in the USA in 2020. However, a lot of people who died with COVID-19 had underlying health issues, like cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, etc. What IS CVD?
- angina, a type of chest pain that occurs due to decreased blood flow into the heart
- arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat or heart rhythm
- congenital heart disease, in which a problem with heart function or structure is present from birth
- coronary artery disease, which affects the arteries that feed the heart muscle
- heart attack, or a sudden blockage to the heart’s blood flow and oxygen supply
- heart failure, wherein the heart cannot contract or relax normally
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the most common, causing ischemia (decreased blood flow) that can lead to: HEART ATTACK - “Chest pain or discomfort, upper back or neck pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea or vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper body discomfort, dizziness, and shortness of breath,”. ARRYTHMIA -(palpitations or flutterings) or even heart failure. When you have cholesterol plaques forming inside your arteries, it is like holding your finger over a water hose increasing pressure. This is why you have high blood pressure. Over time, it causes your arteries to become stiff and harden, resulting in atherosclerosis.
- peripheral artery disease, which causes arteries to become narrow and reduces blood flow to the limbs
- aneurysm, a bulge or enlargement in an artery that can rupture and bleed
- atherosclerosis, in which plaque forms along the walls of blood vessels, narrowing them and restricting the flow of oxygen rich blood
- renal artery disease, which affects the flow of blood to and from the kidneys and can lead to high blood pressure
High blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking are the most significant factors. According to the CDC, 47% of Americans have at least one of these risk factors. WHAT???!!! Holy moly. No wonder the death rate is so high.
You are more at risk if you smoke, are a diabetic, overweight or obese, eat nutritionally poor, have low physical activity and/or use alcohol excessively. Wow. Okay. I don’t know about y’all, but I for one have had more alcohol (red wine) since COVID-19 started. Lots of people have gained weight during this pandemic with relatively low physical activity, a bit more junk food...and a bit more alcohol. That puts a lot of us at risk. So, what can we do about it?
The NIH (National Institute of Health) published a review in 2018 reporting that consumption of EVOO reduces inflammatory biomarkers associated with atherosclerosis and reduces cardiovascular disease risk and mortality. “These anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective effects of EVOO are mostly attributable to its high content of polyphenol molecules.” Oleocanthal is just one of the powerful cardio-protective anti-inflammatory phenols in EVOO!
Another study done in 2014 looked at individuals at high cardiovascular risk and assessed the effects of high polyphenol EVOO vs regular olive oil. “Higher baseline total olive oil consumption was associated with 48% reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality. For each 10 g/d increase in extra-virgin olive oil consumption, cardiovascular disease and mortality risk decreased by 10% and 7%, respectively.” WHAT??? High polyphenol EVOO reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by almost half!!! This is really great news. We all know that cardiovascular function is closely related to endothelial function (lining of heart and blood vessels). “Endothelial function is a measure of how well blood vessels expand when blood flows through them and is an independent predictor for cardiovascular disease.” Oxidative stress causes endothelial injury and leads to dysfunction. According to the NIH, “Endothelial dysfunction is regarded as an early stage of atherosclerosis leading to subsequent cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.” So, if we do something about oxidative stress, we can prevent or even treat endothelial dysfunction and CVD.
A new study from Yale reported in the International Journal of Cardiology “our study demonstrated that a single dose of 50 milliliters of high-polyphenolic extra virgin olive oil, when compared with refined olive oil without polyphenols, was associated with endothelial function improvement among individuals at risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus,” the researchers wrote. WHAT?!!! A SINGLE DOSE!! That’s really incredible. Not only does high polyphenol EVOO help prevent CVD, but also type 2 diabetes! If you read my blogs, you also know it also helps prevent Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, gastrointestinal disorders and more!!! Check out my other blogs. So HOW does it do this?
Researchers looked at how the polyphenols in EVOO work to help prevent CVD and discovered several pathways were effected. “The beneficial effects of polyphenols appear to be mediated via a plethora of biochemical pathways and signaling mechanisms that act either independently or synergistically.” Polyphenol activity appears to prevent adhesion of the oxidized “bad cholesterol” molecule, called a foam cell, to the blood vessel by down-regulation of adhesion molecules. Further, getting rid of excess cholesterol and oxidized cholesterol is super important. “Macrophage-specific reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) is thought to be one of the most important HDL-mediated cardioprotective mechanisms. RCT is the process by which cholesterol in peripheral cells is effluxed onto circulating HDL and is transported back to the liver for excretion in bile and feces. The promotion of RCT is considered a major antiatherogenic function of HDL.”
“Anticancer properties of olive oil seem to correlate with the antioxidant activity of phenolic and polyphenolic compounds present therein that are capable of scavenging free radicals and reactive oxygen species. Oleuropein, tyrosol, hydroxytyrosol, verboscoside, ligustroide, demethyleuropein were all proven to protect against the coronary artery disease or cancer. They also display antimicrobial and antiviral effects. Antioxidant and anti-atherogenic effects of olive oil polyphenols, like oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol, have been vastly confirmed in the literature.” So, high polyphenol EVOO protects us against the TOP 2 killers, heart disease and cancer!!!
Okay, let’s break all this down. Taking high polyphenol EVOO helps to reduce the risk of CVD in multiple ways. It decreases oxidative stress and inflammation, increases endothelial function and reverse cholesterol transport, prevents adhesion of sticky oxidized LDL to our blood vessels thereby improving vascular pliability and decreasing strain on the heart. I don’t know about you, but it’s reassuring to know that just 1 dose of high polyphenol EVOO improves endothelial function! I will continue to take my EVOO shot every morning!!!
So, until next time my friends, drink, drizzle, digest high polyphenol EVOO, eat fatty fish rich in Omega 3s, eat foods high in lutein, drink lots of water, get a good pre/probiotic, exercise your body and mind, get plenty of sleep and...turn off the light!! #EVOO