The health benefits of olive oil derive their nutritional value from the contents of high monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). These are the dietary fats that we desire and are linked to reduced cholesterol levels, insulin control, very good sources of vitamins E & K and promoting healthy cognitive function.
The nutritional value of the oil is affected by heat, light and air. The Mayo Clinic recommends keeping it in a dark, room temperature cupboard or refrigerator to maintain the healthy fats and taste. Other benefits include:
A study from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, PA examined the effects of daily intake of teaspoons of olive oil on pain. Four teaspoons of olive oil had the same effect as ibuprofen on pain, but without the side effects of increased bleeding and gastrointestinal damage
Foods with high MUFAs do not cause weight gain in diabetics and reduces the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 60%. Olive oil can also help regulate insulin and blood sugar levels.
Consumption of olive oil is linked to a decrease in tumors in colon, prostate and breast cancer. The main MUFA in olive oil, called oleic acid, can weaken a cancer gene found in 25-30% of all breast cancer.
Reduces the rate of cardiovascular disease
MUFAs in olive oil are proven to reduce heart problems and the rate of heart disease deaths. Researchers found that a Mediterranean diet using either extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts can significantly reduce the incidents of cardiovascular disease.
Promotes healthy fetal growth
Olive oil has the ability to improve brain function and learning capacity in young kids. Consumption of extra virgin olive oil is connected to favorable effects on child height, weight, cognitive and behavioral development.