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Olive oil and the digestive system

  According to Char bonnier, olive oil is the oil that is best tolerated by the stomach due to its high oleic acid content.

  The tone of the sphincter which separates the stomach and esophagus and which impedes the reflux of gastric juices is less affected by olive oil. Butter is the least tolerated fat, while sunflower oil has intermediate effects. Gastric emptying time is affected in the same way by these three types of fat.

  Since ancient times olive oil has been described as having a beneficial effect on hyperchlorohydric gastritis and gastroduodenaal ulcers, which is attributed to its protective function. When animal fats were replaced by olive oil in the diets of patients suffering from ulcers the result was a reduction of lesions in 33% of the cases and cicatrlzatlon in 55% (Taits). However, prescribing olive oil does not eliminate the need for drugs therapy.

  Two tablespoons of olive oil taken in the morning on an empty stomach appear to have a positive effect on chronic constipation.

  Olive oil has a very positive effect on atony of the gallbladder in that It has a more acute, gentle and prolonged action than prescribed drugs and other foods that have similar effects It inhibits hepatobiliary secretion during gallbladder emptying time and is therefore a pure cholagogue and can be used as a medicinal food. This effect has been known since ancient times and has been confirmed recently in numerous studies.

  Cholelithiasis (gallstones) is a wide spread illness. It is related to the metabolism of fats and is found to a greater extent in more economically developed countries. Overall excess dietary intake, particularly of saturated fats and cholesterol, leads to increased biliary excretion of cholesterol and a reduction in bile acids and lecithin. It appears that high plasma cholesterol levels increase the risk of lithiasis because they simultaneously raise the fraction of cholesterol transported by the low-density lipoproteins (LDL) that inhibit the hepatic synthesis of cholesterol. It is also true, however, that the cholesterol transported by the high-density lipoproteins (HDL) is more easily metabolized into bile acids than it is excreted with bile, When a patient with a high cholesterol level undergoes treatment, plasma cholesterol has to be lowered by increasing its elimination via the biliary tract. For that reason, the majority of experts agree that foods rich in saturated and polyunsaturated fats play a possible role in the formation of calculi, while monounsaturated-rich olive oil would not appear to play such a role. Olive oil can be said to have a protective effect against the formation of gallstones, due to the way in which it activates bile flow and increases HDL, as well as to its balanced saturates: polyunsaturated ratio and its high content of monounsaturated. Messini and Cairella have demonstrated that there is a lower incidence of biliary calculi in areas of Italy where olive oil consumption is higher.

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