Olive oil is simply the oil that is squeezed out from olives. It has been an important part of the Mediterranean diet for centuries. There has recently been a lot of interest in the Mediterranean diet with many studies showing a range of health benefits associated with it. Many of these health benefits have been shown to come from the use of olive oil. Commonly found are three varieties of olive oilâ€”refined olive oil; virgin olive oil and extra virgin olive oil. There are subtle differences in the production of these types. Regardless of type, olive oil is a healthy addition to any diet.
Most preventable health problems due to dietary contents are caused by cholesterol, sugar, salt and trans-fats. Olive oil contains none of them so it is certainly not bad for your health. The nutrition profile of olive oil shows how good it is for health. Though olive oil is rich in fats, all of the fat content is of the â€œgood fatâ€, i.e. mono-saturated and omega-3 fats. Olive oil also contains vitamins E and K. Most importantly olive oil is incredibly rich in antioxidants. This nutritional profile ensures that olive oil has many health benefits.
- The mono-saturated fats present in olive oil have been shown to reduce a person’s risk of diabetes and help control the condition of prediabetes.
- Olive oil is a great dietary addition for a healthy heart. It lowers cholesterol levels, lowers blood pressure and its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties all promote the prevention of heart disease.
- Though olive oil is high in fats and calories, it is an excellent substitute for other cooking oils because it helps you feel fuller and even reduces cravings and can aid in weight loss.
- Because of the phytochemical and antioxidants present in olive oil, it can help in reducing inflammation which in turn can reduce joint pain.
- The same anti-oxidants prevent oxidative stress in your body enrich has been implicated in many cancers. This can prevent cancer, prevent relapse of cancers and even slow down the progression of cancer. Research has shown a particular association between intake of olive oil and skin cancer and breast cancer. Even the presence of mono-saturated fats in olive oil has anticancer properties.
- Olive oil helps in the absorption of calcium which has tremendous bone benefits. It strengthens the bones, and can prevent and reduce the severity of osteoporosis.
- There has been preliminary research that olive oil may play a role in promoting mental health by reducing risk of depression. This may be due to the content of omega-3 fatty acids.
- All oils serve as a digestive lubricant, but olive oil, due to its other health benefits is particularly good for digestive health, relieving problems like constipation, gastritis and ulcers.
- Olive oil improves brain function, specifically cognition, memory and language. This is of extreme importance to older people to prevent cognitive decline as well as improving symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
- By improving cardio-vascular health, olive oil reduces risk of strokes and related mortality.
- Metabolic syndrome is a deadly disease with many serious symptoms like obesity, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol and high blood sugar. Research shows that a Mediterranean diet and in particular consumption of olive oil reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome.
- The antioxidants present in olive oil play a vital role in boosting the immune system making you more resistant to infections.
- Even when applied outside the body, olive oil is beneficial to both skin and hair by reducing dryness and damage without the use of harmful chemicals.
With so many benefits of olive oil, it is definitely a good idea to substitute cooking oils with olive oil, or to drizzle a little on salads and other foods. It will definitely make you feel and look healthier and better.