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Green olives for a toned body

OMG. What an awful headline. We have always so said we would never, never ever use headlines like this for our posts. But this time we have no choice. Italian researchers have written in Immunity & Ageing that you can lose a good kilo of body fat and gain almost the same in muscle mass by eating 12 green olives every day, so we had no choice. Only such an outrageous headline will do.

The researchers, who worked at the University of Palermo, got 23 healthy people aged between 18 and 65 to eat 12 green olives every day for 30 days. The olives had been grown in Sicily, the island of which Palermo is the capital. The cultivar the researchers used was Nocellara del Belice. There was no control group.

Olives are an important part of the Sicilian region's economy. The researchers were open about the economic interests related to their study.

"Olives represent a great potential resource", they wrote. "No approved healthy property and claim exist for them. Therefore, adding such a common product to the class of nutraceuticals could represent a big deal."

Green olives for a toned body

The research was financed by the Italian government, which has been subsidising research on the health effects of Italian foods such as olive oil and red wine for years.

During the period of the experiment the concentration of the inflammatory factor interleukine-6 [IL-6] and of malondialdehyde [MDA] in the participants' blood decreased. Malondialdehyde is a marker for free radical activity.

Green olives for a toned body

The participants lost over a kilo of body fat and gained almost a kilo of muscle mass.

Green olives for a toned body

"The possible explanation could be linked to the capacity of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) to reduce the body fat levels", the Italians speculated. "This molecule is present both in extra virgin olive oil and table olives, and can also be produced during their digestion."

If green olives really do have a body recompositioning effect, then we, ignorant compilers of this gratis webzine, wonder whether that effect is actually due to CLAs.

Green olives for a toned body

Green olives also contain relatively large amounts of oleuropein, a phenol that animal studies have shown to boost testosterone levels, lower cortisol levels and stimulate anabolism. Animal studies also suggest that olive phenols such as oleuropein boost the activity of the thyroid hormone in the body, and possibly in this way stimulate fat loss.

"This pilot study demonstrates an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effect of daily consumption of green table olives Nocellara del Belice", the researchers wrote. "Moreover, the reduction of fat mass with an increase of muscle mass is noteworthy."

"In the era of many expensive and mysterious longevity elixirs, olives could represent a traditional, cheap and accessible to everyone 'healthy food'."

Immun Ageing. 2016 Apr 5;13:11.

Oleuropein boosts testosterone level, lowers cortisol secretion, stimulates anabolism 17.12.2013
Animal study: olive oil is good for (old) muscles 12.08.2011
More adrenalin through olive oil 23.06.2009

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