(NaturalNews) You may want to drizzle a little extra olive oil on your next salad, according to findings from a new study out of the University of Monastir in Tunisia and King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. Researchers there found that extra virgin olive oil provides powerful antioxidant protection against toxins that cause oxidative stress and damage to the liver.
"Olive oil is an integral ingredient in the Mediterranean diet," explained Mohamed Hammami, author of the study. "There is growing evidence that it may have great health benefits including the reduction in coronary heart disease risk, the prevention of some cancers, and the modification of immune and inflammatory responses."
Hammami and his team tested the effects of olive oil on a group of rats exposed to a toxic herbicide called '2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid' that causes severe liver damage. Compared to control group rats who received no olive oil, the rats that consumed extra virgin olive oil in the presence of the herbicide experienced significantly increased antioxidant enzyme activity and a decrease in the biomarkers of liver damage.
"The hydrophilic fraction of olive oil seems to be the effective one in reducing toxin-induced oxidative stress, indicating that hydrophilic extract may exert a direct antioxidant effect on hepatic (fat-storing) cells," added Hammami.
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