Olive oil is the key component of the mediterranean diet which is proven to be the healthiest diet one can follow. Mediterranean populations who are the healthiest and longest living ones in the world, use abundant olive oil in their daily nutrition. Ancient Greeks were aware of the great value of olive oil, this is why Homers called olive oil liquid gold, and Hippocrates had recognised its healing effects.
Here are some of the numerous benefits of olive oil to our health
- Olive oil contains the highest percentage in monounsaturated fats.
Monounsaturated fats are good for our health as they protect us from heart disease and diabetes. They control LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol. There is no other naturally produced oil as high percentage of monounsaturated fat as olive oil. Despite the drama surrounding fats, the key is to chose your fat wisely.
- Olive oil is rich in antioxidants.
When you digest your food, free radicals that are naturally produced by the body can damage the cells. Free radicals from environmental factors such as dust, smog, cigarette smoke and pesticides don’t help the situation. The antioxidants contained in olive oil can help fight off and repair some of the damage that free radicals can cause. This is why scientists make studies on the possible positive effects of olive oil against cancer. In the case of antioxidants, extra virgin olive oil (and especially the higher quality ones) contains higher levels, particularly vitamin E and phenols, because it is less processed.
- Olive oil protects against heart disease.
There are many scientific studies that suggest that olive oil helps prevent and treat heart disease. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels while raising HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels. The daily consumption of monounsaturated fats which are found in olive oil helps decrease blood pressure, both systolic and diastolic.
- Olive oil has strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Some of the ingredients of olive oil such as oleic acid and oleocanthal, mimic the effect of ibuprofen in reducing inflammation. And this is another reason why scientists believe that the consumption of olive oil can decrease the risk of breast cancer and its recurrence.
- Olive oil against osteoporosis.
Olive oil helps calcium absorption and improves bone mineralisation. This is why olive oil plays an important role in aiding people who suffer from osteoporosis as well as preventing its onset.
- Olive oil helps fight depression
Recent studies indicate that nutrition can be helpful to the therapy and/or prevention of mental illness. Mediterranean diet and more specifically the consumption of olive oil have been connected to combat depression.
- Olive oil against Alzheimer disease
New researches suggest that extra virgin olive oil may protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. Olive oil preserves memory and protects against cognitive decline. Mouse experiments revealed changes in both cognitive performance and the appearance of nerve cells which is encouraging as far as prevention is concerned.