Olive oil is used in cosmetics, medicine, cooking, and soaps, and was also used as a fuel for traditional lamps. Olive oil originally came from the Mediterranean, but today it is used worldwide. In the diet, olives can be eaten whole or chopped and added to pizzas and other dishes.
The oil can be used as a dip for bread, for frying, or as a salad dressing. Some people even consume it by the small glassful for medicinal purposes. Olive oil is also being touted as a healthier alternative to traditional cooking oils.
Here are the amazing health benefits of olive oil!
1. It's protects against heart disease
The main type of fat found in olive oil is monounsaturated fat (MUFA). These fats have been found to lower your total cholesterol reduce harmful cholesterol levels. It can also help normalise blood clotting.
Reducing the bad cholesterol in your body means your arteries will be less clogged, leading to a lower risk of heart disease and strokes. Replacing butter and margarine with products containing oil will also contribute towards healthier cholesterol levels.
2. It's full of anti-oxidants
Olive oil contains vitamin E, carotenoids and phenolic compounds, all of which are powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants are said to help lower the creation of damaging free radicals in the body.
Free radicals are groups of atoms with an odd number of electrons that attach to healthy cells and start a negative chain reaction, and can injure blood vessels, damage DNA and create changes in genes that can lead to cancer.
3. It helps prevent strokes
Stroke is caused by a disturbance of blood flow to your brain, due to a blood clot or bleeding. In developed nations, stroke is the second most common cause of death, right behind heart disease.
A study of 841,000 people found that olive oil was the only source of monounsaturated fat associated with a reduced risk of stroke and heart disease. Another review with 140,000 participants found that those who consumed olive oil were at a much lower risk of stroke than those who did not.
4. Extra-virgin olive oil eases inflammation
Extra-virgin olive oil has been found to mimic the effect of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, helping conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. The compound oleocanthal can inhibit pro-inflammatory enzymes – as well as the risk of Alzheimer’s.
When studied in relation to rheumatoid arthritis, researchers found the compound had a significant impact on both chronic inflammation and acute inflammatory processes.
5. It 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.
6. It could help fight against depression
According to recent research, olive oil could have emotional, as well as physical health benefits. A study that included over 12,000 people and found that a diet with a higher intake of olive oil and polyunsaturated fats was associated with a lower risk of mental illness.
Early findings suggest cardiovascular disease and depression may share common processes related to diet, but studies are still being conducted.
7. Olive oil fights osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a disease characterised by a decrease in bone mass, which in turn causes the architecture of bone tissue to become fragile. This can then increase the possibly of fractures, making even the slightest of knocks potentially fatal for sufferers.
Olive oil supplementation was found to positively affect the thickness of bones. Olive oil will not be the only solution in the continuing fight against post-menopausal osteoporosis, however scientists have concluded that it is a very promising candidate for future treatments of the disease.