EVOO’s health benefits, explained.
So, you’ve vaguely heard about the numerous health benefits of organic, extra virgin olive oil. Now it’s time to go into detail and be completely amazed at all the good things it can do for your well-being.
It offers protection from cancer. Eleocanthal, one of the most important polyphenols of olive oil, can decrease inflammation and therefore reduce the risk of cancer and its recurrence. At the same time, thanks to it’s high concentration in antioxidants, extra virgin olive oil can help counter the oxidizing effect of the sun and thus contribute to the prevention of malignant melanoma. Finally, thanks to extra virgin olive oil’s high percentages of oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fatty acid, it has been found that a regular intake of EVOO, is associated with low insidences of specific types of cancer, such as breast cancer.
Protection from heart disease. Extra virgin olive oil can lower the levels of total blood cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, while at the same time it may even raise the levels of HDL-cholesterol. Low LDL-cholesterol levels, mean that we are protected from heart disease and as for HDL-cholesterol, recent studies have found, that the most imporant factor towards the increase of its efficiency in protecting the heart, is the regular consumption of extra virgin olive oil.
Protection from oxidative stress. Rich in polyphenols and mono-unsaturated fats, extra virgin olive oil, olives and olive leaves, can protect our immune system from the side-effects of oxidative stress and even prolong our life expectancy. According to studies, people who follow a Mediterranean diet and consume extra virgin olive oil daily, have been found to lead long lives with low insistences of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Blood pressure regulation. According to recent studies, the daily consumption of extra virgin olive oil (approx. 2 tablespoons each day) can help decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Prevention from diabetes. As stated before, extra virgin olive oil can help reduce the levels of glucoze, LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides and thus contributes in the prevention of diabetes, among other related diseases. At the same time, researchers emphasize the important role that Vitamin E plays in regulating blood sugar levels and improving insulin’s effects. Vitamin E, which is to be found in abundance in extra virgin olive oil, has a very significant anti-oxidative effect, which offers protection from oxidative stress, a threat to our well-being and especially for diabetics. Finally, extra virgin olive oil’s high concentration in mono-unsaturated fats (and low concentration in unsaturated fats), is linked with the improvement of blood lipids levels, weight control as well as with a decrease in blood sugar levels.
Weight-loss. That’s right. According to research done on 8 european countries, children who follow a mediterranean diet based on extra virgin olive oil, are 15% less likely to become overweight or obese. Even though EVOO is rich is calories, its high concentration in mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats contributes in keeping our heart healthy and promoting the feeling that we’re full after a meal, which can be critical when trying to loose weight.
Prevention from rheumatoid arthritis. Although the reasons are still not crystal clear, recent studies have proven that people with diets containing high levels of extra virgin olive oil, are less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. As a result of its high levels of antioxidants and lipoic acid, EVOO has been proven to overall strengthen our immune system.
Protection from osteoporosis. Research has shown, that people who follow a mediterranean diet and consume extra virgin olive oil daily (at least 50ml), have comparatively higher levels of the hormone osteocalcin in their blood. That hormone can basically show us how healthy our bones are, meaning that high levels of osteocalcin suggest high levels of bone density. By helping calcium absorption, extra virgin olive oil plays an important role in aiding sufferers and preventing osteoporosis.
Help against depression. According to recent studies, following a mediterranean diet based on extra virgin olive oil, has been linked to a lower risk of depression, while a diet based on processed foods can negatively affect mental health, along with physical health of course. The findings also suggested that depression and cardiovascular disease may share common mechanisms, related to one’s diet.
Reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown that oleocanthal, one of the most important polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil, can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and the cognitive decline, which comes with old age. Olive oil’s polyphenols have been proven to be powerful antioxidants, which can help reverse the oxidative damage that occurs with the aging process.
In conclusion, listed above were some of the most renowned and important therapeutic characteristics of extra virgin olive oil, a list which grows by the day, as reseachers continue to study EVOO’s numerous benefits for our health. Finally, it goes without saying (I hope), that when talking about health benefits and food, we mean 100% organic, chemical-free, food. Otherwise, the harm done might very well be much bigger than the benefits acquired. So try to support organic farmers and don’t forget to add organic extra virgin olive oil to your daily diet. Now you know why.