Health Benefits Of Olive Oil

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There are lots of ways to eat healthy without making your food boring. And sometimes, choosing the right kind of oil can bring a great deal of benefits to the human body.

Health Benefits Of Olive Oil

Let’s start with the easiest one: the kind of oil you use and let’s start with olive oil.

1. Reduces Inflammation

Olive, as you might already know, is a fruit and has some natural oil in it which is extracted to make olive oil. This oil contains roughly 14 percent of saturated fats and 11 percent of polyunsaturated fats like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

But a large part of it, read 73 percent, is monounsaturated fatty oil which is also referred to as oleic acid. It is the main type of fatty acid present in olive oil.

These monounsaturated fats are good when it comes to resisting high levels of heat which is why they are considered a healthy option for cooking. Extra virgin oil is particularly good for the same reason.

Health Benefits Of Olive Oil

Research tells us that this acid can be good for genes that are affected by cancer and it also helps reduce inflammation. Oleic acid also has some anti-inflammatory properties which makes it good for the human body. And it is done with the help of the antioxidants in olive oil.

Inflammation can cause chronic diseases like heart problems, liver diseases, cancer and more. Some antioxidants do a good job of reducing inflammation. In fact, they work the same way ibuprofen does.

This is possible because olive oil consists of oleocanthal which is anti-inflammatory because it works with C-reactive protein or CRP which is a marker of inflammation. Studies show that about 50 ml of extra virgin olive oil is as good as 10 percent of ibuprofen that is meant for adults.

2. Boosts Heart Health

Antioxidants are essentially compounds that help the body prevent damage when there is an injury. They contain the damage caused by unstable atoms in the body called free radicals. Extra virgin olive oil has a lot of antioxidants which can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

There are studies which show that a little bit of olive oil in your diet can be very useful in reducing heart diseases. That is possible because olive oil has components that protect the good cholesterol in the body.

This oil also has the ability to contain blood pressure while also keeping the arteries from becoming hard. And as a bonus, extra virgin olive oil has good fatty acids that have a small amount of vitamin K and E. As mentioned earlier, it also reduces inflammation, which is good for the human heart.

3. Reduces Risk Of Stroke

Strokes are often the result of a disturbance in the blood that is going to the brain. This could be because of bleeding or blood clots. After heart diseases, strokes are the most common reason that causes death among individuals in developed countries.

When you replace certain fats with olive oil, the chances of strokes are reduced by over 40 percent. So, if it’s possible at all, switch cooking oils.

4. Helps Kill Bacteria

Some bacteria like helicobacter pylori can be destroyed with the help of olive oil. It’s a kind of stomach bacteria and can lead to ulcers and sometimes stomach cancer too. This is possible because of the type of compounds and nutrients that are present in olive oil.

There are a few studies that show that extra virgin olive oil has the ability to fight as many as eight different strains of this stomach bacteria which have developed a resistance to antibiotics.

One of these studies shows that about 30 grams of extra virgin oil can kill about 10 to 40 percent of the infection caused by this bacterium in a matter of two weeks. But you must consume it on a daily basis.

5. May Help With Alzheimer’s Treatment

If you are a heavy consumer of Mediterranean food, you want to pay close attention to this point. Olive oil is a big part of this diet and that is suggested to be a great boost for your brain.

Studies have shown that food that is largely made with olive oil can help you remember, understand and even think better. This is the result of a study conducted in 2016 on human beings. Scientists think this might be because it helps protect the blood vessels inside the brain.

And the best thing about it is that there is some scientific evidence to show that it can help prevent Alzheimer’s. It is a neurodegenerative disease that exists across the globe.

One of the big problems it brings along is that it builds up plaques of beta-amyloid in the brain cells and a study on mice showed that olive oil can be helpful in removing them.

It’s important to note here that there is more evidence needed to establish the direct connection between Alzheimer's and olive oil, but there is hope in this direction.

6. Can Help Treat Anxiety And Depression

Consuming trans fats that are typically found in some baked goods and most fast foods is bad for your health. There is some evidence that suggests that it might even increase an individual’s likelihood to have depression. This is in comparison with those who ate unsaturated fats which are a big part of olive oil.

There is a study from 2013 that was conducted on rodents, which shows that some elements in olive oil can help in protecting our nervous system. And this might help in the treatment of mental illnesses like anxiety and depression. It’s not conclusive proof, but it’s not nothing.

7. Can Repair Liver Damage

The monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid and some phenolic compounds that are present in olive oil in abundance can be helpful in preventive insulin resistance, oxidative stress and of course inflammation.

All these problems play a major role in determining the health of your liver. So, controlling them can be useful in the treatment of liver damage.

There is also a review from 2018 which suggests that extra virgin olive oil has molecules that can help in the repairing of the liver and might even be used in preventing liver damage.

8. May Lower The Risk Of Type-2 Diabetes

We are forever looking for solutions for type-2 diabetes and here’s another clue. There are multiple studies that have established the link between insulin sensitivity, and olive oil. There is evidence to show that olive oil is helpful in controlling blood sugar levels positively. This plays a huge role in reducing the risk of type-2 diabetes.

These positive effects have been confirmed in a clinical trial that was conducted with 418 healthy test subjects. The study also showed that eating food that had a good amount of olive oil helped to do the same, which is to reduce the risk by about 40 percent.

9. May Help With Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

And finally, here’s the thing. Cancer, ulcers, Alzheimer's and type-2 diabetes are not the only problem areas that are influenced by the consumption of olive oil. There’s also rheumatoid arthritis which causes painful and deformed joints because it’s an auto-immune disease.

Supplements that are heavy in olive oil work well when it comes to reducing oxidative stress and they are also beneficial for inflammatory markers. This is a great asset for those who are in treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

And when olive oil is used in combination with fish oil it seems to work particularly well. That might be because fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are very good for reducing inflammation.

There is some research that indicates that this combination has worked very well in improving the strength of handgrip, morning stiffness and joint pains. Scientists understand that this might be because the immune system might accidentally be attacking regular cells, though the cause is not entirely clear.

About Olive Oil

There are three kinds of olive oil in the market. There’s light or refined olive oil, virgin and extra virgin olive oil. The label is decided based on the amount of processing the oil undergoes before it is bottled in a factory.

The very first one, refined oil, is clearly the one that goes through maximum treatment and the last one undergoes the minimum amount of treatment.

But it is still a rich source of antioxidants and monounsaturated acids—the good kind of fats—which can work wonders for your health. Antioxidants are great when it comes to taking care of damage at a cellular level.

This is a boon in terms of treating many different diseases as you now know. And even though the extra virgin grade of olive oil comes with a little bit of bitterness, it has a lot more antioxidants than the other options which is good for you.

The Bottom Line

If you are young and healthy, the tendency might be to ignore this and eat whatever you want. But to paraphrase a wise man, when you are young your body has the ability to process even Tupperware.

It’s as you get older that your body starts throwing strange googlies at you. And you can take care of all of that if you make just a couple of changes in the way you eat.

Rosemary Richards