Can a few more drops of olive oil improve your bone health?

Olive oil is typically known for its benefits on heart health and cholesterol.  This is due to the fact that the dietary fats found in olive oil are monounsaturated, which are the “good” fats.  Nevertheless, with olive oil and any fat that is deemed healthier than other butters and oils, everything should still be consumed in moderation.

A new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism and produced in Spain, has found a new, and crucial, benefit to the adoption of olive oil as a regular staple in your diet.  The researchers examined 127 men, ages 55-80, over a two-year period who ate a Mediterranean diet enriched with olive oil.  The study resulted in finding higher levels of osteocalcin in their blood, which is known to be a marker of strong and healthy bones.

As lead researcher, José Manuel Fernández-Real, explains, “the intake of olive oil has been related to the prevention of osteoporosis in experimental and in vitro models. This is the first randomized study which demonstrates that olive oil preserves bone, at least as inferred by circulating bone markers, in humans.”

Interestingly enough, olive oil actually packs a higher number of calories than butter and other oils with 120 calories per tablespoon (102 calories for the same amount of butter).  However, you should eat it anyway. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that we are not consuming the recommended amount of olive oil, which is of 25 to 27 grams per day, but that we typically consume approximately 60 percent of that amount.  Regardless of calories, olive oil is an essential part of a heart and bone healthy diet because of the type of fat present.

With regards to bone health, olive oil should not be the end all, be all.  In other words, olive oil does not replace the need for calcium and vitamin D in combating osteoporosis.  Health professionals suggest though, that adding the three aspects to your diet together, along with regular exercise, show strong promise for good bone health.  Adding olive oil to your daily diet is simple in that it can replace any other oils and butters in cooking, baking, and salad dressings, for example.

What is your favorite way to add olive oil to your diet?

Photo credit: madmaxx

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