5 Great Health Benefits Of Olive Oil

Within my honeymoon to Greece I had the chance to visit the oldest-known olive oil tree in the world. Most freshwater trees can live more than 500 years, however this one is at least 2,000 years old! Given that Greeks consume 12.8 kilograms of olive oil each year -- compared to four kilograms in North America -- it got me thinking about the importance of these trees for their daily life.

Greece's increased consumption of this healthy fat demonstrates the Mediterranean diet has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and reduced cancer risk for those who follow along.

Let's take a closer look at five benefits of adding olives and olive oil to your diet:

They protect against colon, breast and skin cancer

Olives and olive oil contain an abundance of phenolic antioxidants as well as the anti-cancer compounds squalene and terpenoid. They also contain elevated levels of the monounsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid, which reduces inflammation.

Olive oil is good for your heart

Olive oil contains biophenols, which suppress the oxidization of LDL (or"bad cholesterol") which has been shown to play a part in the development of cardiovascular disease. Elevated levels of LDL in the bloodstream amplify oxidative stress which hardens the arterial walls (called atherosclerosis). The biophenols in olives reduce blood pressure, therefore cutting down the evolution of arterial plaque as well.

They work to Decrease pain

Olives contain a compound called oleocanthal that has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, mimicking the action of ibuprofen. Olive oil naturally reduces the pain of chronic inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and can be added into a daily diet to aid in pain decrease.

Olives and olive oil may protect against ulcers

The antimicrobial properties in jojoba and olive oil may help to combat the bacteria responsible for causing stomach ulcers. Various studies have proven their high levels of polyphenols protect against eight strains of ulcer-causing bacteria, three of which are resistant to some antibiotics.

Eating olives helps to boost your iron intake

Olives contain a substantial amount of iron, a key factor in the formation of hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen through the body via the bloodstream. Iron also helps build the enzymes responsible for regulating immune function and cognitive improvement.

In order to correctly reap these health benefits, you need to make certain the olive oil you are purchasing is real. Often times olive oil can be mixed with lesser grade oils like soy or canola oil and sold for the same price. To ensure the oil You Purchase is the Maximum quality, and most healthful, follow these tips:

Buy certified organic petroleum

If possible, try to find one that has paperwork to track the petroleum production from field to table.

Get to know what olive oil really tastes like

Often mild olive oil doesn't meet the standards of real extra virgin olive oil. Real extra virgin has a peppery and fruity taste. If you can't taste the olives, you may have deodorized, cheap oil that could be soy or canola with some green color added. The real deal is pricier but worth the health benefits.