Olive Oil Combined With Sleep Could Reduce Risk of Stroke and Heart Attack

If you need another reason to consider adding a little olive oil to your diet, Newsweek reports that researchers have found a combination of olive oil and sleep can go a long way toward avoiding heart attacks and stroke. Specifically, they found that levels of an important protein increase after eating foods high in saturated fats, like olive oil — and that this protein can inhibit a key cause of bleeding and cardiovascular disease, Newsweek said. The connection to sleep is that this protein appears to have a circadian rhythm that works best overnight.

While I’m pulled between wanting to talk about the implications of consuming any types of healthy, saturated fats and discussing how important sleep is to your overall health, I think one of the most important things to mention is how to choose which olive oil to consume. Good quality olive oil contains numerous important vitamins and nutrients, and is loaded with antioxidants. But when you’re standing at the store staring at the wide selection of olive oils on the shelf, how do you know which one is best?

It helps to know that one reason there are so many choices is that, due to the popularity of the Mediterranean and ketogenic diets, olive oil is a more than $16 billion-a-year industry. Unfortunately, this popularity has led to massive fraud and corruption when it comes to what’s in those bottles on your grocer’s shelf. What’s worse, some of those bottles aren’t even pure olive oil, as they’ve been diluted with less expensive oils.

So, once you’ve checked out my 50 ways to get good quality sleep, below are some tips for finding the best quality olive oil and keeping it fresh once you’ve purchased it:

  • Harvest date — Look for "early harvest" or "fall harvest."
  • Don’t stock up —Ideally, buy only what you can use in six weeks.
  • Bottles — Choose containers that protect against light; darkened glass, stainless steel or even clear glass enclosed in cardboard are good options.
  • Color and flavor  — Genuine, high-quality extra virgin olive oil has an almost luminescent green color. However, good oils come in all shades, from luminescent green to gold to pale straw, so color should not be a deal-breaker.
  • Labeling terms — Ensure that your oil is labeled "extra virgin," since other categories — "pure" or "light" oil, "olive oil" and "olive pomace oil" — have undergone chemical processing.
  • Quality seals — Producer organizations such as the California Olive Oil Council and the Australian Olive Association require olive oil to meet quality standards that are stricter than the minimal USDA standards. Look for these labels.
  • Storage and use — Keep your olive oil in a cool and dark place, and replace the cap or cork immediately after each pour. Never let it sit exposed to air.
  • Prolonging freshness —  To slow oxidation, try adding one drop of astaxanthin to the bottle. Astaxanthin is red, so it will tint your olive oil. As the olive oil starts to pale, you know it's time to throw it away.
  • Smell — The oil should smell and taste fresh and fruity. Avoid flavors such as moldy, cooked, greasy, meaty, metallic or resembling cardboard.
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