Almost everyone knows that olive oil is good for our health, providing a wide range of health benefits.
It is part of the Mediterranean diet – a diet that helps reduce the risk of peripheral arterial disease, sleep apnea, and cardiovascular mortality.
Olive oil contains high levels of healthy monounsaturated fats, including oleic acid which helps lower inflammation and prevent free radical damage. Moreover, it has potent antioxidant, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
But, the best type of olive oil is considered to be extra virgin olive oil. Here are several reasons why it’s good for our health.
The high antioxidant level in olive oil helps reduce the damage caused by oxidative stress as a result of high blood glucose levels. In that way, it prevents diabetes complications such as kidney damage, diabetic neuropathy, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Moreover, the anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil help reduce inflammation in the body, as well as the damage caused by it. This is important as long-term inflammation can cause a lot of diseases. It can even contribute to the development of diabetes and diabetes-related complications.
The main anti-inflammatory substance in this oil is oleocanthal. The way it affects the COX enzyme system is similar to that of ibuprofen and other NSAIDs.
This oil helps reduce the risk of one of the most common health complications related to diabetes – heart disease.
It does this by reducing the blood pressure, the risk of blood clots, and inflammation, protecting the LDL cholesterol against oxidative damage, and strengthening the blood vessel lining.
In fact, one Italian study showed that eating a Mediterranean diet with extra virgin olive oil helps improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar spikes after eating in healthy people.
High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and premature death. But, the Archives of Internal Medicine Journal published a study that showed the following results.
Taking 30-40 grams of extra virgin olive oil a day, instead of other fats, reduces the amount of high blood pressure medication people need by 48%.
The combination of powerful antioxidants in olive oil help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol. Also, it reduces inflammation, thus preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases.
What’s more, olive oil producers are even allowed to claim that 2 tablespoons of the oil a day might cut the risk of coronary heart disease.
Research suggests that olive oil can help protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. These neurological conditions affect our memory, reasoning, and thinking abilities.
Researchers gave mice with Alzheimer’s the main polyphenol, oleuropein aglycone, found in olive oil for eight weeks. After this period, their cognitive performance was significantly improved.
What’s more, they saw oleuropein aglycone could even prevent cognitive impairment.
Those with osteoporosis have very weak and fragile bones. But, olive oil can help strengthen the bones by increasing the levels of osteocalcin. This protein is produced by bone-forming cells.
Olive oil is one of the healthiest oils we can use for cooking and salads. Heat doesn’t damage the fats it contains, which makes it beneficial for our health. So, feel free to include it in your everyday diet.