It is amazing to learn that a very tasty food has such great health benefits for you, and olive oil is one of these. Olive oil, nuts, and fatty fish are the hallmark of the diet of the Mediterranean countries. Olive oil is among the most famous cooking oils in these countries as well as in many other countries. Keep reading to know about the many olive oil benefits for your health.
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What Is Olive Oil?
Olive oil is a liquid fat obtained by pressing whole olives and extracting the oil. It possesses numerous health benefits as it is abundant in healthy monosaturated fats and antioxidants. It also is shown to have anti-inflammatory characteristics. It is proven scientifically that olive oil — particularly extra virgin — is beneficial for you. People in cooking, cosmetics, and medicine use olive oil.
Olive Oil Benefits
The following are some of the research-backed health benefits of olive oil:
1. Beneficial For Cardiovascular (Heart) Health
Studies have shown that people using extra virgin oil are at a much lower risk of developing heart diseases. The U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) also supports this statement and conditions that people should replace saturated fats/oils.
If you already have a heart disease or a heart disease that runs in your family, or you have any other major risk factors, like diabetes, obesity, and smoking, you should include plenty of extra virgin olive oil in your diet.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) approved health claims on olive oil for protection by its polyphenols against oxidation of blood lipids and maintenance of normal blood LDL-cholesterol levels by replacing saturated fats in the diet with oleic acid.
2. Antioxidant Properties
Extra virgin olive oil is a natural bioactive compound with antioxidant properties due to polyphenols. This characteristic helps olive oil to cope with oxidative stress in the body which is dangerous to proteins, lipids, and DNA. Thus olive oil helps to prevent cancer, heart disease, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes.
3. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Extra-virgin olive oil decreases inflammation, which is one of the main contributory reasons for its benefits to your health. It may protect you from memory impairment (like Alzheimer’s), metabolic syndrome including obesity and type 2 diabetes, arthritis, or even cancer.
4. Helps Prevent Cerebrovascular Accidents (CVAs Or Strokes)
Cerebrovascular accident (CVA or Stroke) is a result of a blockage of blood flow to your brain, which could be either due to a blood clot (atheroma) or bleeding (hemorrhage).
In developed countries, cerebrovascular accident is the second most leading cause of death, followed by the cardiovascular disease (heart disease).
The effect of the consumption of olive oil on stroke risk has been studied in great detail, proving that olive oil decreases the risk of cerebrovascular accidents (CVAs or Stroke).
5. It Lifts Your Mood Up And Gives You Healthy Thinking
The brain-nourishing ingredients of olive oil can also help lift up your mood. In fact,
The foods rich in olive oil are shown even to treat clinical depression.
Other research have shown that the beneficial fats present in olive oil serve to support CNS (the central nervous system), enabling nerves to carry out their functions properly and elevating the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is responsible for the mood uplift and keeping you happy.
6. It Helps Alleviate Painful Conditions
Olive oil can be a remarkably good component of your diet if you are afflicted by arthritis or some other chronic inflammatory disease.
It is due to monounsaturated fats in the olive oil that have been shown to decrease C-reactive protein levels. The latter is an inflammatory marker that’s increased in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Extra virgin olive oil’s component polyphenol oleocanthal, which possesses anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen. Regular use of olive oil is very helpful for control of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
7. It Is Useful For Bone Health And Bone Strength
In a 2018 study, it was shown that women consuming high amounts of olive oil had greater bone density. Olive oil’s anti-inflammatory polyphenols prevent bone break down and stimulate bone growth by turning on osteoclast cells.
8. It Boosts Immunity
A healthy immune system presence is vital for combating diseases like a cold, minimizing the risk of cancer, or managing an autoimmune disease. The effectiveness of your immune system depends on healthy fats.
A study found that consuming 3 tablespoons quantity of extra virgin olive oil daily was associated with enhanced immunity. Contrary to that, consuming an equal amount of soybean oil, corn oil or butter, did not demonstrated these benefits. Some scientists also believe that it can have a good impact in fighting infection from COVID-19.
9. It Helps Build Healthy Gut Flora (Gut Microbiome)
Your gut flora exerts an influence on everything from digestion to your mood and to skin appearance, so keeping it healthy is sure in your best of interest. Olive oil’s polyphenols decrease inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) and promote the growth of those bacteria that are good for your health, according to a 2019 study. Particularly, the researchers showed that eating about 1.5 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil daily helped increase populations of useful bifidobacteria in the gut.
10. It Balances Blood Sugar And May Help Prevent Diabetes
Good fats are a fundamental dietary ingredient of anyone striving to prevent or manage type 2 diabetes. In a study, people who consumed the most olive oil had reduced fasting blood sugar levels and a 16% decreased risk of developing diabetes type 2. The research suggests the major monounsaturated fat present in olive oil, oleic acid, may be in particular protective against insulin resistance.
11. May Aid In Weight Loss
As olive oil plays a role in keeping blood sugar levels stable, it helps curb the cravings that can otherwise result in overeating (binge-eating) and subsequent weight gain—another cause to skip your diabetic diet plan. A study found that women who were overweight added 1+ tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to their breakfast, shed more body fat and a more significant drop in their blood pressure was recorded compared to women who used soybean oil to their morning meal.
12. Antibacterial Properties
Olive oil contains many nutrients that have the ability to inhibit or kill those bacteria that may harm you. One of these culprits is Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that resides in your stomach and can result in stomach ulcers that frequently lead to stomach cancer (carcinoma).
Studies in humans have demonstrated that 30 grams quantity of extra virgin olive oil, taken every day, can eradicate infection of Helicobacter pylori in 10–40% of the people in as little as two weeks.