As a staple in a variety of kitchen pantries, Olive Oil is well known for its flexible versatility, flavor, and essential health properties. When it comes to all of those health benefits we hear about Olive Oil, a large percentage of the time it applies to Extra Virgin Olive Oil. In addition, this extra virgin classification is when oil is mechanically pressed from the olives without any heat or chemicals applied.
Additionally, the International Olive Council and USDA require that brands enforce the standards of oils that are labeled with extra virgin olive oil, but it’s generally always a good idea to do more research into the brand you’re buying as these standards are not generally enforced properly all the time.
This often times has resulted in fraud in the Olive Oil industry, in which some Olive Oil providers will dilute extra virgin olive oil with other, cheaper oils to increase their profits. So you may be asking, what exactly makes Extra Virgin Olive Oil so healthy?
Rich In Heart-Healthy Monounsaturated Fats
Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) are an extraordinary healthy fat to incorporate into your diet as a result of the heart health benefits.
73% of the fat in Olive Oil stems from oleic acid, a type of Monounsaturated Fats. Additionally, Olive Oil has shown to assist in lowering inflammation, lower blood pressure, protect LDL cholesterol, and may even help in preventing unwanted blood clotting.
Olive Oil Is A Great Anti-Inflammatory
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is rich in antioxidants. More specifically in a variety of polyphenols, which acts as antioxidants in the body, and may also have anti-inflammatory benefits as well.
It’s really distinct that Extra Virgin Olive Oil can provide some anti-inflammatory benefits, because most fats tend to create more inflammation in the body. In addition, those same antioxidant polyphenols are often the same ones that have outstanding anti-inflammatory benefits.
Olive Oil Has Great Digestive Health Benefits
Evidence from test tube trials and initial human trials suggest that Olive Oil can have antibacterial properties, more directly against the strain Helicobacter pylori.
This is a bacteria that lives in the stomach and can cause stomach ulcers and stomach cancer. One human study showed that 30 grams of Extra Virgin Olive Oil routinely can help reduce Helicobacter pylori infection in 10-40% of cases within two weeks.
Olive Oil Is A Great Cancer Fighter
A handful of studies have also discovered that populations that consume diets rich in Olive Oil have lowered risk of upper digestive tract cancers, including stomach and small intestine.
In fact, populations that consume daily amounts of olive oil have shown to have lower incidence of certain types of cancer. Free radicals are believed to be a leading cause of cancer and the antioxidants in Olive Oil may help againstt them.
Olive Oil Is Great For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that alternate their diets with Olive Oil have shown improved inflammatory markers and reduced oxidative stress. This is especially true when olive oil supplementation is combined with fish oil.
One study displayed that participants taking olive oil and fish oil together had significantly reduced joint pain, increased grip strength, and decreased morning stiffness.
Olive Oil Has Essential Cognitive Benefits
One benefit of the Mediterranean diet is improved cognitive function, especially among older adults. A variety of research is being done into the role olive oil plays specifically in this, as it is a critical component of the Mediterranean diet.
Recent research is suggesting that in animal trials, olive oil can help during times of brain imbalance, like molecules passing too easily along the blood barrier.
Other early-stage studies are recommending that a substance in olive oil can prevent buildup of a type of plaque in brain cells that is a key feature of Alzheimer’s Disease, although further human studies are needed.