New Delhi, April 7: As heart attacks continue to kill one person every 33 seconds in India, health experts on Friday said that olive oil can help in decreasing cardiovascular diseases.
Olive oil is rich in MUFA or mono unsaturated fatty acids which helps in improving glycemic control and plasma lipid control and increase insulin sensitivity in diabetics and improve cardiovascular health, according to experts.
The World Health Organisation estimated that by 2020, cardiovascular disease will be the cause of over 40 per cent deaths in India as compared to 24 per cent in 1990.
"Olive oil contains a very important health benefiting element called oleic acid. It is known to be extremely heart-healthy and capable of fighting free radical damage (or oxidative stress), which has numerous health implications," said Nidhi Dhawan, head dietician at city based Saroj Superspecialty hospital.
Dhawan said that due to the presence of powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols, olive oil is considered an anti-inflammatory food.
According to experts, when someone's immune system essentially begins to fight their own body as a result of a poor diet, stress or other factors, inflammatory responses are triggered which lead to dangerous, disease-causing inflammation.
They said that the purpose of inflammation is to protect against illnesses and repair the body when needed, but chronic inflammation is extremely harmful to arterial health and linked to heart disease, autoimmune diseases and more.
Olive oil helps reverse inflammatory along with age- and disease-related changes in the heart and blood vessels.
"It has been proven that olive oil is beneficial as it prevents strokes, keeps the heart young, fights osteoporosis, protects from depression, prevents skin and breast cancer," said Neelima Burra, Chief Marketing Officer of Cargill foods.
The experts were speaking on the occasion of World Health Day.
Unlike other edible oils, olive oil contains about 75 per cent mono saturated fat which makes it the healthiest.
Cargill food had earlier launched Leonardo Olive -- approved by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) -- keeping in mind the rising cases of cardiovascular and other diseases such as diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive and pulmonary disease and cancer.
Stating that there was a rise in cardiovascular cases in urban India as well, Burra said that there is a need for the people of urban India to have more awareness about olive oil and its health benefits.