There is a good chance you have heard about the benefits of olive oil. The media coverage has been quite vocal on the subject over the years, and there has been a lot of coverage proclaiming that an olive oil-rich diet could be the secret to encouraging a healthy feeling body. Let’s take a look at 5 regularly reported benefits of olive oil.
Olive oil indeed contains vitamins E and K, however, this is only in modest amounts. What olive oil is far more packed with is a load of powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants are biologically active and they may reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Not only that, they fight inflammation and help to protect blood cholesterol from oxidation which in turn are benefits that may lower the risk of contracting heart disease.
Around 14% of olive oil is saturated fat and 11% is polyunsaturated fat which includes omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. However, the main fatty acid contained within olive oil is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid which makes up 73% of the oil content. It has been suggested by studies that oleic acid may reduce inflammation and possibly have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer. From a cooking perspective, monounsaturated fats are quite resistant to high heat making extra virgin olive oil one of the healthier choices for cooking with.
A stroke is caused when a disturbance of blood flow to the brain takes place, either due to a blood clot or bleeding. Now, the relationship between olive oil and stroke risk has been studied in great detail over the years. For example, a large review of studies in 841,000 people discovered that olive oil was the only source of monounsaturated fat associated with a reduced risk of stroke and also heart disease. There was another review in 140,000 participants which found those that consumed olive oil were at a much lower risk of stroke than those who did not.
We mentioned earlier how olive oil may protect against heart disease and let’s now take a closer look at that. Studies that were conducted a few decades ago revealed how heart disease was less common in Mediterranean countries, leading to extensive research on the Mediterranean diet, which has now shown to substantially reduce heart disease risk.
It is extra virgin olive oil that is one of the main ingredients in a Mediterranean diet which helps to lower inflammation, protect “bad” LDL cholesterol from oxidation, improve the lining of the blood vessels and may also help prevent excessive blood clotting.
One of the main reasons for the cause of Alzheimer’s is a buildup of beta-amyloid plaques inside a person’s brain cells. A study on mice found that there is a substance contained within olive oil that can help remove these plaques. There was also a human study which showed that a Mediterranean diet which was rich in olive oil benefitted brain function. More research is needed regarding olive oil and its potential benefits in the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease to draw more definitive results.
Above are just 5 of the many benefits of olive oil. Some people choose to take the substance neat, on a spoon, hoping that will help them daily benefit from its goodness. Other people will incorporate it into their mealtimes, such as having it drizzled on a salad. Either way, it seems that the Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil seems a potentially great lifestyle choice to make.