Olive oil has always been viewed as a healthy fat with many benefits. Polyphenols, compounds found in olive oil, have antioxidant properties that protect us from the development and progression of various diseases.
What makes olive oil more valuable from other types of fats and oils is that it is mostly made up of unsaturated fatty acids. These unsaturated fats are very important to our overall health as they lower the cholesterol levels of low density lipoproteins (LDL or sometimes called bad cholesterol).
Saturated fats can increase LDL cholesterol and potentially increase your risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack. Therefore, for optimal health, most of the fats consumed should be unsaturated.
Seven reasons olive oil is extremely good for your health:
Olive oil offers numerous health benefits, some of which are discussed below:
1. Prevents heart disease:
Extra virgin olive oil has many heart health benefits. Olive oil is famous for lowering blood cholesterol, a major cause of heart disease. Studies have shown that regular intake of olive oil can help you lower your blood pressure.
It’s also high in polyphenols, anti-inflammatory compounds, and antioxidants (tocopherol) that keep your heart healthy. Not only does it prevent heart disease, but it also slows down the aging of the heart.
2. Reduces pain and inflammation:
Olive oil contains nutrients like oleic acid as well as the antioxidant oleocanthal, which helps fight inflammation. Because chronic inflammation is believed to be the main driver of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and even obesity.
Olive oil also contains the phytonutrient oleocanthal, which mimics the effects of pain relievers like ibuprofen, thereby reducing pain and inflammation. It is due to phytochemicals that play a key role in relieving pain and inflammation in your body.
3. Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes:
Both clinical studies and observational studies suggest that olive oil, when combined with a Mediterranean diet, can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Several other studies have linked olive oil to beneficial effects on blood sugar and insulin sensitivity.
If you are pre-diabetic (borderline diabetes), you should have at least 2 tablespoons of olive oil in your daily diet. According to a study published in the journal Diabetes Care, a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil can reduce the likelihood of developing type II diabetes by nearly 50 percent compared to a low-fat diet.
4. Protects you from cancer:
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Preliminary evidence suggested olive oil may reduce cancer risk, but more studies are needed. People in the Mediterranean are at lower risk of some cancers, and many researchers believe olive oil could be the cause.
The presence of antioxidants in olive oil neutralizes the harmful free radicals in your body, thus reducing the risk of cancer. Aside from that, olive oil is also rich in oleic acid (monounsaturated fat, or good fat), which can play a role in protecting against tumors (in breast cancer).
5. Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Olive oil also helps in reducing joint pain and swelling from rheumatoid arthritis. The beneficial effects of olive oil are greatly increased when combined with fish oil. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that is characterized by deformed and painful joints.
Olive oil supplements are known to improve markers of inflammation and reduce oxidative stress in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
6.Improves brain function:
According to one study, olive oil is also helpful in improving exercise. This study showed that language proficiency and visual memory improved tremendously in older adults who used olive oil extensively (not just in cooking, but also with sauces and dressings).
It helps improve the condition of people with brain related disorders like head injury, epilepsy, bipolar disorder, brain tumor, organic brain syndrome, etc.
7. Promotes a healthy microbiome:
Extra virgin olive oil generally acts as a probiotic that helps create a healthy microbiome in your gut. You may be aware that a healthy microbiome is associated with numerous health benefits, including a reduced risk of obesity.
Overall, olive oil is a rich source of various health promoting compounds. Due to its protective function against various diseases, it is worth including it in a healthy eating plan. In fact, it can be the healthiest fat on the planet.