10 proven health benefits of olive oil
About 14% of the oil is saturated fat, whereas 11% is polyunsaturated, such as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. But the predominant fatty acid in olive oil is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, making up 73% of the total oil content.
Olive oil is a fat obtained from the fruit of the Olea europaea (olive tree), a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean region. Whole olives are pressed to produce this distinctive oil. Although olive oil originally came from the Mediterranean, today it is used worldwide.
There are many amazing health benefits to olive oil that many people do not know about. Experts agree that olive oil – especially extra virgin – is good for you. For instance, Olive oil, rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, is a major component of the Mediterranean diet, and populations from that region have longer life expectancies and lower risks of heart diseases, high blood pressure, and stroke when compared with North Americans and Northern Europeans.
Over the last 50 years, many studies have looked at the health benefits of olive oil. Here are some of the health benefits of olive oil:
Olive Oil May Help Prevent Strokes
Stroke is caused by a disturbance of blood flow to your brain, either due to a blood clot or bleeding.
Taking two tablespoons of olive oil every day will increase the elasticity in your arteries and so, will make you less susceptible to strokes and heart attacks. It has also been concluded by scientists in France that olive oil may prevent stroke in older people. Their research showed that older people who regularly used olive oil for cooking and salad dressing or with bread had a 41-percent lower risk of stroke, compared with those who never consumed it.
The Antioxidants in Olive Oil Have Anti-Cancer Properties
Cancer is one of the most common causes of death in the world. People in Mediterranean countries have a lower risk of some cancers, and many researchers believe that olive oil may be the reason. The antioxidants in olive oil can reduce oxidative damage due to free radicals, which is believed to be a leading driver of cancer
According to research by scientists from Barcelona in Spain, virgin olive oil helps protect the body against breast cancer, in contrast to other vegetable oils. The team demonstrated a link between virgin olive oil and a higher incidence of benign, or non-cancerous, breast tumors.
Protects your red blood cells
Over time, your blood cells oxidize, which is one of the common causes of the signs of aging. There is a special type of polyphenol found in olive oil that protects your red blood cells from oxidation, which will keep you younger for longer and help protect your heart, so don’t forget to add olive oil to your salads.
Olive oil slightly protects against depression risk
A study by the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain published in PLoS ONE showed that olive oil appears to protect slightly against the risk of depression, even after taking into account people’s overall diet, physical activity, and lifestyle.
For the study, data was gathered from 12,000 volunteers over a six-year period and it showed that people whose diets are high in trans fats had a 48-percent higher risk of developing depression, compared with those whose diets are rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fats.
Eases thick cough
When you get a dry, tickly cough, you can ease the irritation with a teaspoon of olive oil.
Reduces the signs of aging
The list of olive oil benefits wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that it can reduce signs of aging. Olive oil contains both antioxidants and vitamin E, which makes it a superb anti-aging treatment. To maintain your youthful glow, apply olive oil to your skin daily and it will help keep the wrinkles away.
Olive oil helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels
A Japanese study published in the Medical Science Monitor showed that LDL-cholesterol concentrations fell in 28 outpatients who took olive oil supplements once a day for 6 weeks. It was concluded, “These results point to an overwhelmingly beneficial influence of olive oil on the lipoprotein spectrum.”
Olive Oil Is Not Associated With Weight Gain and Obesity
Eating excessive amounts of fat causes weight gain. However, numerous studies have linked the Mediterranean diet, rich in olive oil, with favorable effects on body weight. In a 30-month study in over 7,000 Spanish college students, consuming a lot of olive oil was not linked to increased weight.
Additionally, one three-year study in 187 participants found that a diet rich in olive oil was linked to increased levels of antioxidants in the blood, as well as weight loss.
Olive Oil Has Antibacterial Properties
Olive oil contains many nutrients that can inhibit or kill harmful bacteria. One of these is Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that lives in your stomach and can cause stomach ulcers and stomach cancer.
Test-tube studies have shown that extra virgin olive oil fights eight strains of this bacterium, three of which are resistant to antibiotics. A study in humans suggested that 30 grams of extra virgin olive oil, taken daily, can eliminate Helicobacter pylori infection in 10–40% of people in as little as two weeks.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease characterized by deformed and painful joints. Though the exact cause is not well understood, it involves your immune system attacking normal cells by mistake.
Olive oil supplements appear to improve inflammatory markers and reduce oxidative stress in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. Olive oil seems particularly beneficial when combined with fish oil, a source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.
In one study, olive and fish oil significantly improved handgrip strength, joint pain and morning stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis.