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Olive Oil

Rich in mono-unsaturated (or "good") fats, olive oil can lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar and protect the inner lining of blood vessels.

Extra virgin or virgin olive oil is preferable because it isn't chemically produced and has more antioxidants.

I love salads and I use a dressing that not only tastes good, but also is really good for my health. What if I told you that what you choose to put on your salad could help to prevent a stroke? It comes down to one magic ingredient – olive oil. Researchers followed more than 7,000 people older than 65 who used olive oil in their diet everyday, cooking with it or using it as a dressing.

They found those who consumed a lot had a 41 percent reduced risk of having a stroke. But those who even used modest amounts had a 20 percent decreased risk.

Why does it help? Olive oil is rich in the good fats, so-called mono-unsaturated fats, which lower total cholesterol as well as bad cholesterol.

It also appears to regulate blood sugar, which is good for those with Type 2 Diabetes.

In addition, olive oil has antioxidants that help to protect the inner lining of our blood vessels. To get more olive oil into your diet, you might want to use it in place of butter or margarine on toast, cook with it, or put it on your salad.

And remember, you want to use extra virgin or virgin olive oil, because it's not chemically produced and has more of the good antioxidants in it. A tablespoon of olive oil has about 120 calories, but it's well worth it. It tastes good and it's good for your heart, arteries, and brain.

For CardioSmart TV, I'm Dr. Randy Martin.

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