Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Olive oil is one of the most beneficial oils and a vital part of the Mediterranean Diet. Ancient literary texts repeatedly mention olive oil and its uses. Now science has caught up and various researches now help us understand the benefits of olive oil. Let’s see how below:

Possibly Prevents Cancer

Numerous studies have shown that main fatty acid present in olive oil, oleic acid, has a negative effect on the progression of cancerous cells in human body. It has been tested for possible cancer treatments namely endometrial and prostate cancers.

Olive oil should be an integral part of our diet. Consuming olive oil on regular basis can protect one’s body against different types of cancerous cells namely of breast, colon, and prostate. The antioxidant property of olive oil combined with the lycopene present in tomatoes can help prevent skin cancer.

Prevents Heart Diseases

Olive oil is rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acid and this allows it to protect the human body against heart diseases by controlling its cholesterol levels.

Higher levels of antioxidant compounds in olive oil, particularly phenol and vitamin E and K prevents oxidization of LDL commonly known as bad cholesterol in arteries, therefore avoiding heart attacks and heat strokes.  Atherosclerosis (process of plaque formation in human arteries) narrows human arteries which elevates blood pressure levels increasing the chances of clots and strokes.

One would think that taking vitamin E supplements can help us avoid atherosclerosis but studies have shown that supplements cannot be a substitute for Vitamin E present in natural olive oil.

Weight Control

Nutritionists recommend giving up animal fat in favor of plant fat and only allowing the former to be included in diet in small quantities.

It must seem odd to consume fat to lose fat but unsaturated fatty acids from plants differ from saturated fatty acids in animals. Several studies relate high cholesterol levels and heart strokes to the excessive consumption of saturated fatty acids.

On the opposite spectrum, consumption of unsaturated fatty acids and weight loss show positive relation. Since olive oil is one of the best sources of unsaturated fatty acids, it is an integral part of many famous diets such as Mediterranean diet.

Diabetes

Favoring unsaturated fatty acids over saturated fatty acids not only helps in controlling weight and avoids heart complications but it also maintains diabetic levels especially for type-2 diabetics.

In type-2 diabetes the human body not only stops responding to insulin, but it also stops making enough of it. Olive oil doesn’t raise the blood glucose level which is beneficial for people with type-2 diabetes.

Researchers relate olive oil with high insulin levels and conclude that controlled intake of olive oil can help people with type-2 diabetes.

Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant properties

Olive oil contains oleocanthal which makes it anti-inflammatory and a natural substitute for ibuprofen. This anti-inflammatory property of olive oil combined with its antioxidant properties makes it useful to avert the onset of asthma.

Asthma has no cure, but researchers have concluded that one can prevent the cause of asthma that is, the inflammation of air passages, by including olive oil in their diets.

This anti-inflammatory property also helps people with arthritis.  Orthopedists recommends olive oil for swelling and inflammation of joints.

To sum it up, the quality of olive oil must be kept in check. Whenever nutritionists and doctors suggest using olive oil in your diet, they meant extra virgin olive oil only and not the refined one. Regardless of its health benefits, olive oil is a fat and it must be included in your diet accordingly. You cannot drink a cup of olive oil and call it healthy!

Have a great and healthy day.

Emilia Klapp