Taking olive oil may prevent bowel disease: study

14:53, May 02, 2010      

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Increasing the intake of olive oil may reduce the risk of suffering from ulcerative colitis, a new study suggest.

The new findings were presented on Saturday at the Digestive Disease Week conference in New Orleans.

Researchers at the University of East Anglia's School of Medicine in the United Kingdom followed more than 25,000 people, aged 40-65, between 1993 and 1997. None of the participants had ulcerative colitis at the start of the study. By 2002, 22 participants had developed ulcerative colitis.

The researchers compared the diets of these people to those who didn't develop the disease and found that those with the highest intake of oleic acid were 90 percent less likely to develop ulcerative colitis.

The researchers drew the conclusion that people whose diet was rich in oleic acid were far less likely to develop ulcerative colitis.

Oleic acid is a monosaturated fatty acid found in foods such as olive oil, peanut oil, grapeseed oil, butter and some margarines.

"Oleic acid seems to help prevent the development of ulcerative colitis by blocking chemicals in the bowel that aggravate the inflammation found in the illness," said study leader Dr. Andrew Hart at the University.

"We estimate that around half the cases of ulcerative colitis could be prevented if larger amounts of oleic acid were consumed. Two-to-three tablespoons of olive oil per day would have a protective effect," he said.

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes ulcers in the lining of the rectum and colon, resulting in abdominal pain, diarrhea and weight loss.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:黄硕)

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