The many health benefits of olive oil have been recognised by a handful of ancient physicians such as Hippocrates, Galen, Dioscorides, and Diocles. In recent years, modern doctors and nutritionists have realized that Extra Virgin Olive Oil contributes a drastic amount of nutritional value to human health.
Olive Oil and Cholesterol
- While Greek, Cretan and other Mediterranean men consume almost as much dietary fat as Americans, they happen to have much lower rates of heart disease. The difference is a result of the Mediterranean’s consumption of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which is mainly monounsaturated fat.
- Researchers at the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands found out that simply following a low fat diet reduced total cholesterol but HDL cholesterol also declined; in contrast, a high fat diet based on Extra Virgin Olive Oil also reduced total cholesterol but HDL cholesterol actually increased.
This is all very good for those concerned about their cholesterol levels, especially the good HDL cholesterol, and the effects on the human circulatory system.
Olive Oil and Rheumatoid Arthritis
A study in Greece showed that individuals who had the lowest lifetime consumption of Extra Virgin Olive Oil had two and a half times considerable probability of developing rheumatoid arthritis than those with the highest lifetime consumption.
A rheumatologist of the Arthritis Foundation, which did the research, cites that adding Olive Oil to your diet could assist in protecting yourself against rheumatoid arthritis.
Olive Oil and Antioxidants
Among the vital components of Extra Virgin Olive Oil are antioxidants. In addition, Olive Oil provides beta carotene (provitamin A) and tocopherol (vitamin E) which are outstanding buffers of acids produced in the gastrointestinal tract and those resulting from body metabolism.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains 88% of its vitamin E in the form of alpha-tocopherol, which is pretty easily synthesised by the body.
These are very essential antioxidants that prevent the oxidation of LDLs. Such oxidation can cause damage to ordinary cells, nerve cells and arteries and lead to arteriosclerosis, coronary heart disease, or even cancer.
Olive Oil and Aging
Medical studies have indicated that diets which are deficient in vitamin E speed up the breakdown of specific fatty acids, a process which always leads to aging. The vitamin E content in Olive Oil is thought to provide a defence against such effects, and thus help maintain mental faculties and muscular control longer and better.
Among other benefits, the vitamin A helps prevent and minimise the development of skin wrinkles.
As we get older, our digestive capacity becomes markedly reduced resulting in more difficulty to absorb nutrients from food, especially vitamins and minerals. Olive Oil is very digestible and its nutrients are easier to digest. It also has beneficent effects in aiding digestion and stimulating the appetite.
Olive Oil is nature’s main front for an assortment of healthful nutrients such as: vitamins A, E, D and K. Other nutrients found in olive oil are:
- Magnesium-rich chlorophyll encourages formation of healthy red blood cells.
- Squalene, a precursor to phytosterols, helps reduce acidity.
- Phytosterols (in the form of beta-sitosterol) assists in preventing cholesterol absorption.
- Caffeic and gallic nutrients stimulate the flow of bile which helps alkalise food coming out of the stomach, reducing stress on the pancreas.
- Phenolic compounds protect against fermentation of fats and cholesterol, and may promote higher production of fat-digesting enzymes in the pancreas.
- Cycloartenol lowers the amount of cholesterol in free circulation and increases excretion of bile to mop up excess acidity and increase alkalinity of the food coming out of the stomach.
These health benefits can be taken from all forms of Olive Oil; nonetheless, do take into consideration that refined oils undergo a lot of high temperatures during processing which destroys or alters the antioxidants, and thus have very little, if any, vitamins left. Ultimately, in order to gain the maximum medicinal benefit, you should use only Extra Virgin Olive Oil.