Expert says eat this ‘superfood’ daily to reduce inflammation and blood pressure

What we eat plays a huge role in our overall health and wellbeing. Some foods are known to raise our risk for certain conditions and should therefore be eaten in limited amounts, while others can actually help keep us healthy and protect against certain diseases and issues.

The phrase “superfood” has been thrown around a lot in recent years when it comes to healthy eating.

Some experts say there isn’t really such a thing – no one food can magically solve multiple health issues.

However, Professor Tim Spector has argued that there could be one such superfood.

The founder of Zoe Health and university professor of genetic epidemiology, has recommended eating a spoonful a day of one food to ward off cardiovascular disease, inflammation, type 2 diabetes and even cancer.

Prof Spector said that he did not normally use the term superfood – but olive oil could be an exception.

People might be put off by the fact it is an oil, something that is associated with unhealthy food but it has major health benefits, he said.

Writing on Instagram Prof Spector said: “If I did believe in ‘superfoods’ olive oil would be one of them.

“While many of us were taught to fear fat, research shows that diets rich in extra virgin olive oil are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.”

Olive oil is rich in polyphenols, which are plant compounds with antioxidant benefits.

He explained: “Many of these benefits are attributed to the high polyphenol count in extra virgin olive oil.

“Not only do these polyphenols exert powerful anti-inflammatory effects but they also promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, contributing to good gut health.

“And more than anything else, I can’t think of a better combination than olive oil and delicious (almost) in season tomatoes – delicious.

“There are few dishes that aren’t improved with a drizzle of olive oil, both for your health and your taste buds. There’s a reason olive oil is the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet.”

His advice was backed by his friend and colleague, the late Dr Michael Mosley, who died recently.

Speaking on his BBC Radio Four show Just One Thing this year, Dr Mosley recommended people to eat a spoonful of olive oil every day.

He explained: “Olive oil is also rich in something called oleic acid, which, along with the polyphenols, could explain why a good glug of olive oil a day can lower inflammation, improve our memory and reduce blood pressure.”

The benefits were greater with higher quality olive oil.

He said: “In a recent Spanish study of over 12,000 people, researchers found that those who had a tablespoon and a half of olive oil a day were half as likely to die from cardiovascular disease, which is impressive.

“This association was only found with those consuming extra virgin olive oil and not refined or ordinary olive oil.

“On the other hand, a 2020 roundup found that consuming olive oil in whatever form lowered blood pressure, though extra virgin had a bigger impact.”

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