To Fish Oil Or Not To Fish Oil

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Submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine….

didyouknow?We’ve all heard the advice to take a fish oil with omega-3 fatty acids to improve heart health, but are you actually getting the benefits they claim to provide? One Baylor College of Medicine cardiologist says probably not, and that goes for most over-the-counter supplements.

“They may not be bad for you, but you also may not know exactly what you are getting. Supplements are not regulated by the FDA, and the benefits haven’t been fully investigated,” said Dr. Christie Ballantyne, professor of medicine and chief of the section of cardiology at Baylor. “If you are at high risk for heart attack or stroke and decide to add an over-the-counter fish oil pill to your diet and you think you are getting a benefit, there is a good chance you are not.”

Ballantyne is lead researcher on the REDUCE-IT trial that investigated the effects of icosapent ethyl, a highly purified eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) ethyl ester, which is an omega-3 fatty acid purified from fish oil. People who were at high risk of cardiovascular events despite being on a statin treatment were given a dosage of 4000 mg daily and the results (read more about REDUCE-IT here) did show a decrease in cardiovascular events; however, Ballantyne said an important distinction is the amount and the type of omega-3 fatty acid used and the amount.

“What we use in the REDUCE-IT trial is prescription grade and FDA approved. It is a highly refined form, not what you find in a dietary supplement capsule,” Ballantyne said. “Even if the amount listed on the supplement label is, for example, 1000mg, you should read the ingredients. 1000mg doesn’t mean pure fish oil; there are other elements included and the usual amount of omega 3 fatty acids – EPA and docosahexanoic acid, or DHA – is usually only a total of 300 mg. So, to get the benefits we saw in the trial, you would have to take an enormous number of capsules.” 

Reading the ingredient list is important on all supplements. Not all items are listed on the front label, so make sure to check the small print. In some cases, the added items might actually hurt your health, Ballantyne said. For example, losing weight is a way to improve heart health, but there have been effective weight loss supplements that include ingredients that have been known to increase the risk of cardiovascular events. Also make sure that you purchase a reputable brand as there are some protein powders that claim to be all natural and enhance muscle strength, but include synthetic steroids.

“The ingredients might not be harmful, but if you already have some type of health issue, it could add complications. You should know what you are putting in your body, and you should talk to your doctor about any type of supplements you are taking,” he said. “And if you still want to add certain supplements to your body, the best way to start is to eat healthy and get your required vitamins and health benefits from whole foods.”

Ballantyne also is the director of the Maria and Alando J. Ballantyne Atherosclerosis Clinical Research Laboratory at Baylor, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at the Methodist DeBakey Heart Center and co-director of the Lipid Metabolism and Atherosclerosis Clinic at Houston Methodist. He also holds the J. S. Abercrombie Chair in Atherosclerosis and Lipoprotein Research at Baylor.

Is All Olive Oil You See On Supermarket Shelves Created Equal? – Part 2

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By Brooke Crowley

Continued from part 1 of this article…..

seniors2Another really great benefit to extra virgin oil is that it contains a massive amount of polyphenols which are some of the best types of antioxidants that you can put in your body.

Things To Keep in Mind When Shopping For Olive Oil

You need to always remember that just because an olive oil is labeled as being extra virgin it doesn’t at all mean that it’s good quality!

You need to appreciate that buying an olive oil that has been made locally will be far superior to buying something that was made somewhere like Greece or Italy.

Extra virgin oil is extremely fragile and so you can be sure that something that’s being bought in from abroad will result in you getting something that tastes very bland.

However the great news these days is that you can be sure that your local grocery store stocks at least one brand of locally sourced extra virgin oil. And yes you might end up paying more for it, but it’ll be more than worth it once you have a little taste.

When you’re out there picking out an oil to buy, you should treat it like you would when you’re buying a new wine and really try to engage all your senses.

The first step is to actually smell the oil and when doing so you should find it smells very clean and fresh, with hints of olives, grass and apples.

Avoid relying on the look of the oil because this can be very easily manipulated these days. Instead you should focus as much as you possibly can on engaging the most important sense of all and that’s taste!

girlhatTo get a taste of an oil that you’re interested in, you should take half a teaspoon into your mouth and swirl it around your mouth… much like you would a fine wine.

The first taste you should get in your mouth is that of olives but the best oils out there will also give you a hint of grass, fennel and even apples! If you get a metallic like taste then it’s very likely the oil you have is rancid.

If the oil you’re tasting is light, delicious and moves lightly through your mouth then it’s very likely that you got your hands on some truly amazing stuff.

The only way you’re ever going to find the best oil is by experimenting. You have to go through the process of trial and error until you come across the oil that you absolutely love! And while the journey may be a long one, it will be more than worth it once you find that one oil you want to use every single day.

Once you find the best oil you need to make sure that you’re using it in the right way.

It really doesn’t matter how good the olive oil is in terms of quality… you need to remember to never, ever use it to sauté something because the heat will totally ruin the delicate flavors.

Rather you should use the oil as a high quality finisher on top of your meal. Cook your meals with butter and then finish it off with extra virgin oil.

This way you’ll not only enjoy the great taste but you’ll get all the nutritional benefits that are associated with olive oils… and not a single drop will be wasted 🙂

So there you have it, I really hope that this short article has given you a deeper appreciation for olive oil and what you should look out for when you’re out and about looking for for your own quality bottle!

– Guest Article Written by Brooke Crowley of Join her over at her blog where she tries to help people all over the globe get into incredible shape and health, safely and quickly.

Is All Olive Oil You See On Supermarket Shelves Created Equal? – Part 1

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By Brooke Crowley

HealthYou need to first and foremost realize that there are various different kinds of olive oil out there and they are each classified by the method of processing that they go through.

Oil that’s known as being virgin can only be produced by physical methods which means that any sort of chemical treatment is strictly forbidden.

The absolute best stuff you will find will be made from ripe olives which are squeezed into a paste using tools such as steel drums or millstones. Olive oil that is made from overripe or green olives will result in a final product that is really bitter and unpleasant to consume.

Another thing to note about virgin olive oil is that fact that is will not have gone through any kind of processing aside from the basics such as washing, decanting, centrifuging and filtering… although none of these processes are needed to create the final product they are the only ones that are actually permitted.

And let’s not forget that some heat can be applied as long as it doesn’t actually affect the composition of the oil.

Olive oil that’s classed as being refined is usually of poor quality because it was made from oil that had some impurities in it and so it had to go through the process of refining for it to become edible.

The whole process of refining olive oil usually involves using things like charcoal filters or other similar processes… and while you’ll get oil that has an increased shelf life, it will essentially have no taste to it.

The next type of olive oil isn’t actually edible but mainly used as a base ingredient for soaps you see in supermarket shelves. It goes by the name of olive pomace oil and it is basically extracted from the pressed olives that were used to make virgin olive oil. This process usually involves having to use some sort of chemical solvent.

thumbsupBlended olive oil is the one type of oil that you’re going to want to avoid. Sometimes, you’ll find a blended oil that’s a mixture of various different types of olive oil but more often than not it’s a mixture of olive oil with some other type of vegetable oil such as canola.

Yes, you’ll find that the shelf life will be increased but so will the level of polyunsaturated fats and on top of that there will be a lot less monounsaturated fats… so it will definitely be in your interest to avoid it from now on!

The best type of olive oil out there is widely known as Extra virgin olive oil.

The International Olive Oil Council state that in order for an oil to be classed as being extra virgin it must contain at the very most 0.8% acidity and also taste a lot superior to conventional olive oils.

Getting your hands on extra virgin olive oil that’s unfiltered or cold pressed will mean that you’ll be getting something that tastes even better!

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article shortly…..

– Guest Article Written by Brooke Crowley of Join her over at her blog where she tries to help people all over the globe get into incredible shape and health, safely and quickly.