The Mediterranean population has the lowest rates of cardiovascular disease and longest life expectancy. A diet of around 40% fat is what makes these people, as well as other Mediterranean residents, so they are able to thrive.
Monounsaturated Olive Oil makes up the majority of this fat, and the health benefits of this oil are continuing to pile up. Let's take a look at three of the most well-known benefits of Olive Oil.
Olive oil may be able to reverse Alzheimer's disease
Studies have shown that people who eat a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil and other healthy foods are less likely to develop dementia.
A recent study also found that laboratory mice with Alzheimer's disease generally ate regular chow that was enhanced with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This made them more successful in memory and learning tests.
Their brains were also less likely to develop beta-amyloid plaques or neurofibrillary knots, which are indicators of Alzheimer's disease.
Olive oil can help lower blood pressure
A study in Italy found that patients with mild-to-moderate hypertension saw a significant drop in blood pressure when they ate extra-virgin olive oils. In some cases, medication was not necessary.
Participants with moderately high blood pressure (less that 165/104 millimeters Hg) who were taking antihypertensive medication were also included in the analysis. Participants were given either extra virgin olive oil or sunflower oil as a daily meal. Six months later, they were switched to the other diet.
Patients were able to reduce their medication requirements by 48 percent with the Olive Oil Diet.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil also contains powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants protect LDL cholesterol against free radical damage. They also maintain healthy arteries and prevent plaque buildup. This has positive effects on blood sugar.
Olive oil helps to reduce stroke risk
Researchers did a study to see if eating large quantities of olive oil (both as a cooking oil, and as a dressing for salads) could be associated with a lower rate of strokes. Researchers found that those who consumed Olive Oil had a 41% lower chance of suffering a stroke than those who did not have a stroke history for 5 years.
A second evaluation showed that people with high blood levels of oleic acids (a type of fatty acid found in olive oil) were at a greater risk than those who had lower levels.
This is a very sensible decision. This makes perfect sense. Olive acids, which are powerful antioxidants, prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidation and help to stave off atherosclerosis.
Research suggests that Olive Oil is also effective in preventing platelets from sticking together. This helps to reduce the risk of strokes.
How to Get the Most Out Of Olive Oil's Essential Benefits
Extra-virgin olive oils are best to ensure you get all the health benefits. It should be kept in a cool dark place or in the fridge to keep it fresh.
Olive oil can be used as a primary oil in cooking, marinades and salad dressings. You can heat it. Monounsaturated fats tend to be stable. When sauteing, keep the heat at a low level.
A good rule of thumb when making salad dressings or marinades is to use three tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive oil to two tablespoons of citrus juice or vinegar. Add fresh or dried herbs, seasonings, and salt to taste.
Three tablespoons olive oil, two tablespoons red wine vinegar, one teaspoon garlic, and a pinch of salt make a mild, flavorful vinaigrette.
Are Olive Oil Benefits Brand-Specific?
Our Olive Oil experts recommend that you verify the authenticity of what you purchase. According to a Journal of Food Science study, olive oil is the most adulterated food item.
These issues include mislabeled origins, missing elements on labels, additions of seed, nuts, vegetable oils, and questionable purity.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or real extra virgin olive oil) is only the oil extracted from mechanically pressed olive seed. It cannot be heated or processed with chemicals. For freshness, check the label for a harvest date to ensure that your olive oil is still in its original state. Your olive oil should not be more than one year old in a perfect world.
Olive oil can last up to 2 years if stored in good conditions. It is possible to legitimately brand a product with both the International Olive Oil Council's (IOOC), or California Olive Oil Council's (COOC) stamps of approval.
Visit a store that sells olive oils if you are able to. They will be able to give you a taste test.
Also, avoid olive oil that has been stored in dark bottles. This will preserve its freshness and prevent oxidation.