New Research Shows the Power of Olive Oil in Your Diet
Bottle pouring virgin olive oil in a bowl close up

Researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School have discovered how olive oil, when combined with intermittent fasting and exercise, offers major anti-aging benefits.

Doug Mashek, PhD, led a team of researchers who discovered that olive oil in the Mediterranean diet holds the key to improving lifespan.

Early studies on the diet suggested red wine was a major contributor to the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet because it contains a compound called resveratrol, which activated a certain pathway in cells, however, work in Mashek’s lab suggests that it is the fat in olive oil, another component of the Mediterranean diet, that is actually activating this pathway.

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According to Mashek, merely consuming olive oil is not enough to elicit all of the health benefits, however.

His team’s studies suggest that when coupled with fasting, limiting caloric intake and exercising, the effects of consuming olive oil will be most pronounced.

“We found that the way this fat works is it first has to get stored in microscopic things called lipid droplets, which is how our cells store fat. And then, when the fat is broken down during exercising or fasting, for example, is when the signaling and beneficial effects are realized,” Mashek said.

The next steps for their research are to translate it to humans with the goal of discovering new drugs or to further tailor dietary regimens that improve health, both short-term and long-term.

“We want to understand the biology, and then translate it to humans, hopefully changing the paradigm of healthcare from someone going to eight different doctors to treat his or her eight different disorders,” Mashek said.

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