PCOS Review Newsletter #29

1) Why We Use Olive Oil in Our PCOS Diet Recipes.

If you're a reader of The Natural Diet Solution to PCOS and Infertility, you may have noticed that we use virgin olive oil in our recipes. Why would we do that?

Not only does it make your meal more flavorful, it also provides health benefits that are important for women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, who have a tendency toward cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic inflammation.

Certain micronutrients contained in virgin olive oil and other foods may be responsible for the Mediterranean diet's well known heart-healthy effects, according to recent research.

These compounds, known as phenols, have been shown in lab studies to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and blood clot-preventing effects.

The benefits of phenols were recently demonstrated in a study at the University of Codoba in Spain. The researchers compared the effect of consuming phenol-rich olive oil or olive oil with most of its phenol content removed in a group of 21 people with high cholesterol.

The researchers measured the ability of the study participants' blood vessels to respond to rapid changes in blood flow after they had consumed a relatively high-fat meal containing either type of olive oil. Blood vessels have been shown to function poorly after a high-fat meal.

Blood vessel response and function was improved for the first four hours after the high-phenol olive oil meal, but there was no difference in blood vessel function before and after the low-phenol olive oil meal.

The researchers also found increased levels of the blood vessel dilating molecule nitric oxide and reduced levels of oxidative stress after consumption of the high-phenol meal. The phenols' antioxidant effects, as well as their ability to help the body use nitric oxide more effectively, is a combination of effects that will benefit women with polycystic ovary syndrome.

PCOS women are more likely to have circulation problems, inflammation and oxidant stress. We recommend extra virgin olive oil in our recipes instead of common vegetable oils to counteract these problem, and to help you regain excellent health.

Our Recommendations

  • We recommend "extra virgin" olive oil because it has the highest levels of beneficial phenols. Your next choice would be "virgin" olive oil. If it doesn't say "extra virgin" or "virgin" on the label, don't buy it.
  • Do not consume ordinary vegetable oils, for reasons we outline in our healthy PCOS diet book.
  • Don't forget to consume omega-3 oils, such as fish oil. In case you've forgotten, please review the evidence for fish oil as a health benefit for women with PCOS.

Ruano, J et al, Phenolic content of virgin olive oil improves ischemic reactive hyperemia in hypercholesterolemic patients, J Am Coll Cardiol. 2005 Nov 15;46(10):1864-8

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