The health benefits of olive oil are unparalleled and research is revealing more and more benefits and health-related discoveries about olive oil nearly every day. Olive oil is the foundation of the Mediterranean diet and a nutritional cornerstone for the many of the world’s oldest cultures. Consuming olive oil has been shown to bring many healthful benefits.
Using extra virgin olive oil as a replacement for butter, margarine, and other less healthy fats has been shown to aid in the prevention of a wide variety of diseases as well as countering effects of aging. Cardiologists often recommend at least two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil each day to enjoy the many ways olive oil can bring health and well being.
The health benefits of olives and of extra virgin olive oil are numerous and include a reduction of risk factors of coronary heart disease, the prevention of certain cancers, and alterations of immune and inflammatory responses.
Let’s see some of the important ways in which olive oil can contribute to your health and wellness:
Reducing the risk of cancer. A primary nutrient in olive oil, oleocanthal, acts similarly in the body to the effects of ibuprofen in reducing inflammation, which can decrease the risk of breast cancer and its recurrence. Other olive oil components, such as squalene and lignans, are also being actively studied for their possible effects on cancer.
As an antioxidant. Olive oil is likely the best source of polyphenols, a health-protective antioxidant, along with vitamin E, which have been long thought to minimize cancer risk. Among the various plant oils, olive oil contains the highest amount of monounsaturated fat which doesn’t oxidize in the body. In addition, olive oil is low in polyunsaturated fat, the kind that does oxidize in your body!
Reducing the risk of heart disease. Olive oil helps lower levels of total blood cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and triglycerides (the bad stuff). While doing all these good things, it does not alter the levels of HDL-cholesterol (and may even raise them). Health and heart disease never go together
Help lower blood pressure. Research suggests that regular consumption of extra virgin olive oil can serve to decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Reduce the effects of diabetes. It has been shown that a diet rich in extra virgin olive oil, low in saturated fats, moderately balanced in carbohydrates and soluble fiber from fruit, vegetables, and grains is the most effective approach for those suffering from diabetes. It helps lower “bad” low-density lipoproteins while improving blood sugar control and enhancing insulin sensitivity.
Reduce the risk of osteoporosis. A diet rich in extra virgin olive oil has been shown to improve bone mineralization and calcification. Olive oil also helps calcium absorption and, thus plays an important role in aiding sufferers and in preventing the onset of the disease. The health benefits of olive oil continue to grow and enjoyed!