Olive Oil, especially Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, has always been famous for its handful of health benefits, and is even said to be the secret to the longer life expectancies of the Mediterranean population. In addition, it has numerous health benefits.
Olive Oil Contains Good Fats, Essential For Heart Health
The main part of fat discovered in olive oil is monounsaturated fat (MUFA). MUFAs have been proven to lower your total cholesterol and LDL (the bad) cholesterol levels, and may even help normalise blood clotting.
Lowering your LDL cholesterol means your arteries won't be as clogged, leading to a lower risk of heart disease and strokes. Furthermore, replacing butter and margarine with specific products containing oil, such as Bertolli with butter, will help aid in increasing your intake of MUFA.
Olive Oil Is Packed With Antioxidants
Olive Oil contains vitamin E, carotenoids and phenolic compounds, all which are known as powerful antioxidants. In addition, these antioxidants are said to assist in lowering the creation of damaging free radicals in the body.
Free radicals are groups of atoms with an odd number of electrons that attach to healthy cells and start a negative chain reaction, and can injure blood vessels, damage DNA and create changes in genes that can lead to cancer.
Olive Oil May Help Prevent High Blood Pressure
Just as MUFAs can look after the health of your heart, monounsaturated fats discovered in Olive Oil also contain high amounts of an essential fatty acid (EFA) called omega-3.
Omega-3 and MUFAs have been shown to keep your heart healthy by helping to lower blood pressure. It is called an EFA mainly because the body cannot make it by itself and therefore we must get it from food sources
It May Help Protect You From Depression
According to recent research, Olive Oil may have emotional, as well as physical health benefits. The University of Navarra and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria conducted a study that included over 12,000 people and found that a diet with a higher intake of olive oil and polyunsaturated fats was associated with a lower risk of mental illness.
Olive Oil May Play An Essential Role In Preventing Osteoporosis
There is growing evidence that Olive Oil intake may help improve the amount calcium in the blood, which can have a beneficial effect on bone density, so it may therefore help prevent osteoporosis from developing.
Olive Oil Can Help Lower the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease
Early studies have shown that an Olive Oil extract (oleocanthal) may help protect you from the risk of Alzheimer's disease and cognitive decline, that can often come with aging.
More research is needed in that area, but Olive Oil is also likely to be part of a Mediterranean diet (which also tends to be high in veg, fruit and fish) and there is some evidence that this diet can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease also.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Helps Reduce Inflammation
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil has been found to resemble the effect of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, helping conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. The compound oleocanthal can inhibit pro-inflammatory enzymes -- as well as the risk of Alzheimer's.
When studied in relation to rheumatoid arthritis, researchers found the compound had a significant impact on both chronic inflammation and acute inflammatory processes, and they think 3.5 tablespoon dose is equal to a 200mg tablet of ibuprofen.