Useful Health Benefits of Olive Oil

A majority of us have heard that Extra Virgin Olive Oil is good for your health, however what exactly makes it so good for you? EVOO's number one health claim is that it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease -- that also happens to be the number one cause of death in the United States! In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration approved a qualified health claim for olive oil indicating a reduced risk of heart disease. The best tasting and tasting Extra Virgin Olive Oil provides the most health benefits.

There are a number of scientific studies that reveal olive oil can help prevent and treat heart disease. How does it do this, you may wonder? Olive oil actually protects against heart disease by helping to control the"bad" cholesterol (LDL) levels while simultaneously increasing the"good" cholesterol (HDL) levels in the human body.

Approximately 2 tablespoons of a high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil each day contains large amounts of antioxidants (vitamin E and phenols in particular) that help to lower LDL cholesterol levels and increase anti-oxidant compounds in the bloodstream.

The health benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil don't stop there, nevertheless. New positive attributes of EVOO are being discovered regularly. Did you know that it helps boost your immune system, thus protecting against germs? It is true! In addition to that, it's also been found to be very effective in warding off the following diseases:

High Blood Pressure: In recent studies, systolic & diastolic blood pressure has been lowered thanks to the regular consumption of olive oil.

Heart Disease: Heart disease is caused by a buildup of cholesterol, but the consumption of olive oil helps to lower these cholesterol levels- hence decreasing the risk for heart disease.

Cancer: There is a phytonutrient, oleocanthal, that is found in olive oil that can decrease inflammation by imitating the effects of ibuprofen. This has actually been seen to decrease the risk of breast cancer (and its recurrence)! There are currently a few other olive oil components that are being analyzed for their potential effects on cancer; these components include squalene and lignans.

Diabetes: A diet rich in olive oil has proven to help lower"bad" low-density lipoproteins while improving blood sugar control and enhancing insulin sensitivity. As part of a diet low in saturated fats and moderate in carbohydrates & soluble fiber from fruits, veggies, and grains, olive oil is a healthy addition.

Oxidative Stress: It is well-known that olive oil is full of antioxidants (vitamin E especially) that have long been proven to minimize the risk of cancer. Olive oil is actually very high in monounsaturated fats, the kind that do not oxidize from the body, while also being low in polyunsaturated fats, the type that do oxidize from the body. This makes olive oil a wonderful addition to a healthy diet.

Osteoporosis: A diet high in olive oil has been shown to improve bone mineralization and calcification. It actually improves calcium absorption, thus playing an important role in aiding current sufferers and at the prevention of the onset of osteoporosis in others.

All of these unbelievable health benefits make you want to add EVOO to your everyday diet (if you haven't already), don't they?! Having a list this long, and constantly rising, the benefits of a diet rich in olive oil are not only abundant- but undeniable.

The polyphenols (antioxidants) that are found naturally in olive oil play a prominent role in the various health benefits attributed to olive oil. Of course, not all olive oils contain the same polyphenol content, which is determined by a number of factors. These factors include:

Olive Varietal: They variety of olive utilized to generate the oil determins the polyphenol count of the oil itself. For example, Koreneiki olives have a very large polyphenol count and Arbequina's have a very low count.

Timing of Picking: Oil produced from unripe (green) olives is likely to be richer in polyphenols than petroleum produced from the same olives that have been allowed to reach maturity.

Environmental Factors: Things such as altitude, irrigation, and cultivation all have an impact on polyphenol counts.

Extraction Conditions: Polyphenols are lost when methods meant to enhance yield are utilized. Things such as adding water, heating the paste, and increasing malaxation time mean your oil will contain less radicals.

Storage Containers: The more an oil sits the less polyphenols it will have. Keeping your olive oil in the ideal container will prolong your oil's life and keep the polyphenols from oxidizing too fast.

All of these unbelievable health benefits make you want to add EVOO for your everyday diet (if you haven't already), don't they?! With a list this long, and constantly increasing, the benefits of a diet rich in olive oil are not only abundant- but undeniable.