Most people know that extra virgin olive oil is good for you but do you know why? In ancient times olive oil was considered as valuable as gold and even though people may not value it this way today, it still is one of the most valuable foods. One of the reasons the Mediterranean diet is so popular is due to the benefits of olive oil. The increasing trend towards Ketogenic diets shows that people are looking for ways to get high quality, healthy fats into their diets and olive oil turns out to be one of the best choices. So, why is extra virgin olive oil so good for you?
1. Olive oil reduces inflammation.
This is arguably the most important benefit of olive oil. Inflammation is a primary driver and often an underlying cause for most disease pathologies. And it is especially critical for those dealing with auto-immune diseases. Olive oil’s high oleic acid content helps reduce inflammation which is often witnessed in blood markers as lowered levels of C-Reactive Proteins.
2. Olive oil protects the heart and cardiovascular system.
As we age, our risk of cardiovascular disease increases. However, those of us who consume olive oil on a regular basis, can reduce our risk. Olive oil’s abundance of phenolic compounds, unique fatty acids and high levels of oleic acid make it cardio-protective. It can also improve lipid profiles by increasing HDL’s and lowering LDL’s. Additionally, olive oil’s ability to reduce inflammation has been shown to reduce biomarkers associated with and the growth of atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and thrombosis.
3. Olive oil helps to regulate proper body weight.
Olive oil has been shown to reduce triglycerides in the liver and diminish lipotoxicity, which often contributes to weight gain. Good fats also help control insulin resistance which triggers weight retention. One of the reasons the Ketogenic diet has become so popular is because when people consume more fats and fewer carbohydrates, they are better able to both lose and maintain healthy weight levels. Good fats like extra virgin olive oil also tend to be more satiating, mitigating the need to consume additional food.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28585218
4. Olive oil can help prevent and manage Type 2 Diabetes.
Extra virgin olive oil has a tremendous number of bioactive compounds: monosaturated fatty acids, lignans and other polyphenols that aid in the prevention and management of Type 2 diabetes. These protective elements do not cause blood sugar to increase but instead help reduce inflammation that is associated with both insulin resistance and diabetes.
5. Olive oil helps prevent Cancer.
The high polyphenol content in extra virgin olive oil helps modulate the immune system and therefore reduces the risk of cancer. In essence it helps lower oxidative stress which is a primary driver of cancer. One Italian study also found olive oil especially helpful in reducing the risk of breast cancer.
6. Olive Oil support Brain Health
Our brains are largely composed of fatty acids. Extra virgin olive oil is high in fatty acids, polyphenols, and combined with its anti-inflammatory properties is neuro-protective, thereby reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia while improving memory and focus.
7. Olive oil helps protect against Osteoporosis.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil’s phenolic compounds exert a protective mechanism against osteoporosis by favoring bone regeneration. When the body has excessive amounts of inflammation it will cause the bones to start excreting minerals to compensate, thus reducing bone density. However, regular consumption of olive oil reduces the overall inflammatory response and helps protect the bones from breakdown, keeping them strong. This is especially important for the elderly. Fats also aid in mineral absorption which is essential for bone building.
8. Olive Oil can help slow the Aging of the Skin
As we age our skin naturally starts to break down. Chronic long-term stress creates oxidative stress which starts to break down collagen and the dermis level of the skin. One of the unique properties of high-quality extra virgin olive oil is that it can reduce epinephrine levels caused by stress thereby acting as a protective mechanism for the skin. This in turn helps slow the aging process of the skin. In fact, one of woman’s best-kept secrets is to apply olive oil to her skin to maintain its healthy glow.
9. Olive oil can act as a protective mechanism for liver damage.
Surprisingly, due to its high levels of oleic acid and other phenolic compounds, extra virgin olive oil participates in many different signaling pathways that prevent inflammation, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and insulin resistance. This can help prevent and resolve liver damage such as fatty liver or cirrhosis. Some people drink a couple ounces of olive oil on a daily basis as a preventative measure to support healthy liver function.
Listed above are some of the most important scientifically tested benefits of olive oil. But many people do not need science to know that olive oil is good for them, it is something they can feel. There are also many other benefits not listed above. For example, some people use high quality olive oil to reduce gallstones as part of a liver-gallbladder flush. Others take it to reduce constipation and, in fact, increased healthy oil consumption was one of the ancient remedies used in Chinese Medicine for constipation. So you see, extra virgin olive oil is truly one of the perfect anti-aging foods. It doesn’t get any more amazing than that!