What are the Essential Benefits of Olive Oil?
Olive oil has been used medicinally for centuries. In Ancient Greece, Hippocrates called olive oil "the great healer" and prescribed olive oil for various general ailments. Now, contemporary scientific and technological advancements have allowed researchers to understand exactly what health benefits you can expect by consuming olive oil daily.
We have compiled the most compelling research that link olive oil intake to specific health conditions so you can learn how to improve your health, and what to search for when purchasing olive oil for these functions.
Improve Brain Function
Simply switching to higher-quality oil sources can have a protective effect on brain health, even at doses as low as 2 tablespoons a day. Researchers found that older study participants that entirely replaced all the various vegetable oils in their diet (such as safflower, canola or low-quality olive oil) to high-quality extra virgin olive oil had improved cognitive function just one year later one.
Similarly, mice fed with EVOO for 2 months displayed less Alzheimer's disease-causing protein aggregates within their brain, resulting in improved memory and cognitive function.
Incorporating high-phenolic EVOO into your daily routine may represent an effective procedure to defend against diabetes. Earlier this year, researchers found that olive oils high in phenolic compounds can be used for the maintenance of diabetes.
They extracted the medically active phenolic substances from high-quality olive oil and found that these EVOO extracts were more effective at ridding diabetes-related enzymes than Acarbose, a common medication prescribed to diabetics.
High-quality EVOO has a repertoire of medically-active chemicals that keep inflammation in check and protect against growing chronic inflammatory diseases. Various phenolic substances, such as oleuropein, oleocanthal and hydroxytyrosol, and triterpenic compounds, such as oleanolic acid and maslinic acid, have been credited with the antioxidantanti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting properties of medicinal EVOO. In fact, a recent human study demonstrated the importance of consuming olive oil that is full of both phenols and triterpenes for reducing inflammation and DNA oxidation.
Fend off Cancer
Regular EVOO intake has been linked to decreased risk of developing cancer. In fact, men and women in the Mediterranean basin have decreased rates of cancer and decreased cancer mortality6, maybe due to higher EVOO consumption than the rest of the world.
Studies have linked the polyphenols found in EVOO to its cancer-fighting abilities; these polyphenols can destroy cancer cells, although not non-cancerous cells, eliminating many of the side effects seen with classic chemotherapies, and can reverse acquired resistance to standard-of-care breast cancer treatments8.
Boost Heart Health
Supplementing your diet with high-phenolic olive oil has been demonstrated to improve your cardiovascular health. High-phenolic olive oil, but not low-phenolic olive oil, has been shown to enhance blood pressure and endothelial function.
And just 3 weeks of consuming two tablespoons a day of high-phenolic olive oil enhanced cholesterol levels, whereas low-phenolic olive oil intake actually worsened cholesterol levels10. The negative effect of low-phenolic olive oil strengthens the importance of using high-quality EVOO.