`Olive Oil May Help Protect Skin from the Aging Effects of the Sun - Olive Oil Times

Olive Oil May Help Protect Skin from the Aging Effects of the Sun

Oct. 25, 2012
Naomi Tupper

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New French research sug­gests that a high intake of olive oil and other monoun­sat­u­rated fats may pro­tect the skin against sun-related aging.

The study, pub­lished in the Public Library of Science, was designed to build on the hypoth­e­sis that monoun­sat­u­rated fatty acids reduce oxida­tive dam­age in the body, in addi­tion to decreas­ing insulin resis­tance and inflam­ma­tion, all of which may reduce aging of the skin due to sun dam­age or photo-aging’.

The cross-sec­tional study included 1,264 women and 1,655 men, all between 45 and 60 years old. Dietary intake records where com­pleted by par­tic­i­pants at least ten times in the first two-and-a-half years of fol­low up, allow­ing intake of monoun­sat­u­rated fatty acids from olive oil and other sources to be esti­mated. Skin photo-aging was then graded by photographs.

The results obtained in the study sug­gested that a lower risk of severe photo-aging was asso­ci­ated with higher intakes of monoun­sat­u­rated fatty acids from olive oil, as well as from other veg­etable oils. However, of the most com­monly con­sumed veg­eta­bles oils, olive, peanut and sun­flower, olive oil intake showed the great­est asso­ci­a­tion with reduced aging, and was the only asso­ci­a­tion that was sta­tis­ti­cally significant.

Although monoun­sat­u­rated fats were asso­ci­ated with reduced risk of skin aging over­all in both sexes, there was no asso­ci­a­tion between the monoun­sat­u­rated fatty acids found in meat, dairy or processed meats. The rea­son for this is not clear, as dairy prod­ucts pro­vide sim­i­lar amounts of monoun­sat­u­rated fats as olive oil. However, the authors of the study hypoth­e­sized that this could be due to the high level of unhealthy sat­u­rated fats also present in dairy foods, or pos­si­bly the polyphe­nols in olive oil, which are thought to pro­tect against cell damage.

The authors con­cluded that the results sup­ported the ben­e­fi­cial effect of olive oil on the aging of the skin, although admit that as par­tic­i­pants who con­sumed more olive oil also had health­ier over­all diets, this may also play a part in the pro­tec­tive effect. Although the results seem to indi­cate yet another health ben­e­fit of a diet rich in olive oil, fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tion is needed in this area to deter­mine the mech­a­nism by which monoun­sat­u­rated fats or other com­pounds in olive oil pro­tect against skin aging.

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A diet high in olive oil is widely regarded to be ben­e­fi­cial for health, with research sug­gest­ing it pro­vides pro­tec­tion against a wide range of con­di­tions includ­ing heart dis­ease, stroke, arthri­tis and even some forms of can­cer. Although fur­ther research is needed to deter­mine the exact effect a diet rich in monoun­sat­u­rated fatty acids has on the aging process of the skin, there seems lit­tle doubt that olive oil is one of the most ben­e­fi­cial fat sources for our health.

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