The health benefits of olive oil are unrivaled, and research reveals more benefits nearly every day.
Olive oil is the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet, an essential nutritional mainstay for the world’s longest-living cultures.
Protect against influenza virus
Dozens of phenolic compounds have been identiﬁed in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), each with their own unique health beneﬁts. One of the beneﬁts of these compounds is they have high bioavailability, extensive research reporting the anti-inﬂammatory, antimicrobial, antibacterial and antiviral properties obtained from these compounds.
Once an infection is contracted, the human body relies on the immune system to ﬁght the infection through a range of cellular, inﬂammatory, and immune reactions. Although there are medications to treat infection, naturally derived food sources such as Extra Virgin Olive Oil indicate prevention for treating the infection naturally.
Early studies showed that several polyphenols in olive oil have antibacterial properties against human pathogens, particularly oleuropein, tyrosol, and hydroxytyrosol. Hydroxytyrosol has been shown to disrupt the inﬂuenza virus.
Scientiﬁc studies have shown that monounsaturated fats and phenols found in olive oil help the body neutralise free radicals, thereby reducing the possibility of the occurrence of various types of cancer.
The phytonutrient in olive oil, oleocanthal, mimics the eﬀect of ibuprofen in reducing inﬂammation, which can decrease the risk of breast cancer and its recurrence. Squalene and lignans are among the other olive oil components being studied for their possible eﬀects on cancer. A new study has proven that an ingredient in extra virgin olive oil can kill cancer cells.
The researchers discovered that oleocanthal caused cancer cells to break down and die very quickly; within 30 minutes, instead of the 16 to 24 hours it takes for programmed cell death, known as apoptosis.
Olive oil lowers the levels of total blood cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides. At the same time it does not alter the levels of HDL-cholesterol (and may even raise them), which plays a protective role and prevents the formation of fatty patches, thus stimulating the elimination of the low-density lipoproteins.
Olive oil helps the heart function properly. According to international surveys that have been carried out, two tablespoons of olive oil a day signiﬁcantly reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL CAN REDUCE OXIDATIVE STRESS
Olive oil is rich in antioxidants, especially vitamin E, long thought to minimise cancer risk. Among plant oils, olive oil is the highest in monounsaturated fat, which doesn’t oxidise in the body, and it’s low in polyunsaturated fat, the kind that does oxidise.
A new study has revealed that extra-virgin olive oil can protect the liver from oxidative stress. However, extra virgin olive oil and hydrophilic fraction intake induced a signiﬁcant increase in antioxidant enzyme activity and a decrease in markers of liver damage.
LOWERING BLOOD PRESSURE
Two tablespoons of phenol-rich EVOO can be eﬀective in lowering blood pressure, according to a University of California at Davis Olive Centre review. The study indicate that regular consumption of olive oil can help decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Other studies found that Olive Oil with a high phenolic content was more eﬀective in lowering either systolic or diastolic blood pressure in comparison to sunﬂower oil, soybean oil, or reﬁned olive oil with low phenol content.
PROTECT FROM DIABETES
It has been demonstrated that a diet that is rich in olive oil, low in saturated fats, moderately rich in carbohydrates and soluble ﬁbre from fruit, vegetables, pulses and grains is the most eﬀective approach for diabetics. It helps lower “bad” low-density lipoproteins while improving blood sugar control and enhances insulin sensitivity.
Traditionally a low fat diet has been prescribed to prevent various diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. While studies have shown that high fat diets may increase the risk of certain diseases such as cancer and diabetes, it appears that it is the type of fat that counts rather than the amount of fat. We now know that a diet rich in monounsaturated fats such as the ones found in olive oil, nuts and seeds actually protects from many of these chronic diseases.
PROTECTIVE AGAINST OBESITY
A recent study in eight European countries has shown that children who consume a Mediterranean diet were less likely to be overweight. Although high in calories, olive oil has shown to help reduce levels of obesity.
The results of the study conducted by Dr. Gianluca Tognon from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden were ﬁrst presented at the European Congress on Obesity.
Although the reasons are still not fully clear, recent studies have proved that people with diets containing high levels of olive oil are less likely to develop rheumatiod arthritis.
A recent published study suggest that regular consumption of olive oil may reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. According to the authors of the study, the people on diets containing high levels of olive oil had less risk of suﬀering this disease. The study found that the people who consumed less olive oil had 2.5 times more possibility of developing rheumatoid arthritis than those who consumed it more frequently.
Although the mechanism involved is not yet clear, antioxidants are suspected to exert a beneﬁcial eﬀect.
PROTECT AGAINST OSTEOPOROSIS
Here’s yet another reason to add olive oil to your diet. A recent article based on review of 37 scientiﬁc studies reports that the phenols in extra virgin olive oil may prevent loss of bone mass.
A high consumption of olive oil appears to improve bone mineralization and calciﬁcation. It helps calcium absorption and so plays an important role in aiding suﬀerers and in preventing the onset of Osteoporosis.