Olive oil is well known as one of the healthy oils to use in the kitchen for a good reason. It’s high in vitamins, antioxidants, and amino acids good for your health. This article explores 13 Proven Benefits of Olive Oil.
According to experts, olive oil derives its health benefits from the high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) it contains.
MUFAs have been shown to promote good health and lower the risk for chronic conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
In this article, you will learn more about the benefits of olive oil and how you can incorporate it into your diet.
1. It’s high in beneficial monounsaturated fats
Although olive oil contains 14 percent of saturated fats and 11 percent of polyunsaturated fats such as omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, it’s very high in oleic acid, by 73 percent. Oleic acid is a type of monounsaturated fatty acid that can help lower bad cholesterol, reduce inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity, and aid weight loss, among other benefits. Read More.
2. Olive oil is a strong anti-inflammatory
Chronic inflammation is the driving force for most chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and other metabolic conditions.
Studies have shown that olive oil contains oleocanthal, a compound with similar effects as ibuprofen, a drug used to reduce inflammation.
Consuming olive oil may help reduce and prevent inflammation and improve arthritis.
Additionally, it may help reduce inflammatory markers in the body.
3. Olive oil protects against heart disease
Research has shown a strong connection between olive oil consumption and cardiovascular health, especially in regions where olive oil intake is very high, like the Mediterranean countries.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, individuals that consumed at least 7 grams of olive oil daily had a reduced risk of heart disease than those that didn’t.
In another study, individuals who consumed more than half a tablespoon of olive oil daily lowered their risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 15 percent and developing coronary heart disease by 21 percent.
4. Olive oil lowers high blood pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and heart attack. Consuming extra virgin olive oil has been shown to lower this risk and prevent further complications.
A randomized study on elderly individuals on high blood pressure medication found that consuming virgin olive oil reduced their total cholesterol and systolic blood pressure.
In another epidemiological study, researchers found that the high oleic acid and polyphenols in olive oil are a great contributor to lowering blood pressure, rendering olive oil the healthy oil to consume in healthy individuals and cardiovascular conditions.
5. It’s a great source of antioxidants
Olive oil is rich in powerful antioxidants, including vitamin E and K, that protect against cell damage and reduce the risk and progression of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke, and liver disease.
6. Olive oil may fight Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s is a chronic progressive neurological condition that causes brain cells to die, leading to memory loss and disruption in other cognitive functions.
Experimental studies show that regular intake of extra virgin olive oil may offer neuroprotective effects that could prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease. These studies found out that the high consumption of olive oil in the Mediterranean diet could be why this diet has a reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
7. It may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
Research shows a link between olive oil consumption and type 2 diabetes prevention. This is due to its ability to increase insulin sensitivity and cholesterol, which play a bigger role in reducing the negative effects of high blood sugar.
One study found that the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in olive oil, reduced HbA1c and cardiovascular risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes.
8. It may offer antibacterial benefits
Olive oil is high in polyphenols that have been shown to kill and inhibit bacterial growth, including helicobacter pylori, a common bacterium in the gut known to cause stomach ulcers. Read More.
9. Promotes hair growth
Olive oil is an active ingredient in most hair products, including shampoos and conditioners.
It contains antioxidants, protein, and antimicrobial effects that may boost scalp health, strengthen hair follicles, prevent hair loss, and maintain hair length.
10. It’s anti-aging
The antioxidant properties of olive oil prevent oxidation that may cause cell damage, leading to premature signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines.
When applied to the skin, olive oil may prevent skin damage promoting a healthy and youthful look. It may also prevent sun damage and fight cancer-causing cells when applied after sun exposure. Read More
11. Improves bone health
Daily consumption of olive oil may improve bone health and prevent osteoporosis. This is due to the effects of the phenol compounds that increase bone density and prevent loss of bone mass. Read More.
12. Facilitates digestion
A tablespoon of olive oil each morning on an empty stomach will act as a lubricant, increasing the gut motility and bowel movements. It may also help the stool hold more water which will help prevent constipation. Olive oil also helps your body absorb fat-soluble nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K.
13. Maintains healthy weight
Olive oil contains healthy fats, and fats are generally known to cause early satiety, slow the digestion process, and prevent unnecessary cravings.
Including a tablespoon of olive oil with each meal will initiate early satiety and keep you feeling full for longer. This will cut down on the number of calories consumed, leading to weight loss.
What is the best olive oil to consume?
The best type of olive oil is extra virgin olive oil since it has undergone very minimal processing thus packed with all the nutrients it should contain.
However, some brands sold in stores, though labeled “extra virgin,” have been diluted by other vegetable oils.
To test its authenticity, pour some extra virgin olive oil into a small bowl or a cup and let it stay in the fridge overnight. Good quality extra virgin oil will condense or begin to solidify.
How can you incorporate olive oil into your diet?
Ways to use olive oil include:
- Use on toast instead of butter
- Include in homemade salad dressing
- In baking
- Drizzle it on salads
- Use it when roasting, sautéing, or grilling instead of other fats
Olive oil is one of the healthiest oils to include in your diet. It’s high in antioxidants, vitamins, and other compounds that have been shown to prevent chronic conditions and improve health and wellbeing.
Incorporating olive oil into your diet is very easy; just replace the oils and butter you use at home for olive oil. But make sure you’re using the right kind, which is extra virgin olive oil.
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