Health Benefits of Olive Oil
Mediterranean people’s longevity and their associated quality of life is well renowned, and many studies have found that their diet is a major factor in their longer lifespans. In fact, while heart disease is currently the most common cause of death across the globe, it’s rarer in the Mediterranean, and research has even found that their diet reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, diabetes, and more. (1)(2)(3)(4)
Olive oil in particular is packed full of powerful Polyphenol called Oleocanthal, which will help to reduce bad cholesterol, reduce the risk of stroke, prevent the onset of dementia and the risk of Alzheimers, lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, reduce the risk of high blood pressure, protect against heart disease and prevent DNA damage that can trigger cancer.
Olive oil is well known for being packed full of antioxidants, which are essential for keeping our bodies fighting fit and healthy. These antioxidants, in particular, are recognised as being beneficial in terms of fighting disease, as they can prevent our blood’s cholesterol oxidising, which can lead to heart disease.
According to hundreds of studies, extra virgin olive oil in particular helps protect the body against heart disease. This can be seen in the way that it lowers all aspects of the body’s cholesterol, including LDL-cholesterol (low density lipoprotein), triglycerides, and overall levels of total blood cholesterol. (5)(6)(7)
After multiple studies and research, olive oil has been directly linked to providing protection effects against type 2 diabetes. A specific diabetes-focused study showed that a healthy Mediterranean diet which featured olive oil was able to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by over 40%, when compared to a generic low fat diet. (8)(9)
As olive oil contains multiple elements that are designed to reduce swelling in the body, such as the arteries, it’s been studied intensively in relation to its part in possibly reducing the risk of a stroke. In fact, in a recent study, olive oil was found to be the one monosaturated fat item ingested by over 841,000 participants that actually lowered the risk of stroke and heart disease. A separate study in France showed that participants who used olive oil for cooking and dressings were 41% less at risk of a stroke, compared to the participants who didn’t use any olive oil.
This is due to the fact that strokes are caused when the blood flow to the brain is disturbed or interrupted, caused by a blood clot. Olive oil improves blood flow in the body, which can help reduce this risk. (10)(11)
Olive oil was the feature of one particular study, which said including olive oil in the diet of participants reduced their need for blood pressure medication by a whopping 48%! This happened over six months when combined with a diet low in saturated fat.(12)(13)
Of all the elements that olive oil is comprised of, over 70% of it is oleic acid, a fatty acid. Oleic acid is known for being a healthy fat and in fact helps to reduce inflammation of arteries and more when ingested. Due to this de-swelling trait, it’s believed that Oleic acid has a positive effect on cancerous genes and cells.
This has been shown in the way the antioxidants of olive oil react with free radicals, typically by reducing the oxidative damage they cause, which is thought to be one of the main causes of cancer. In essence, olive oil potentially possesses the ability to kill cancerous cells. (14)(15)(16)(17)(18)
Sadly, Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases across the globe, with recent statistics showing that someone in the United States develops the disease every 66 seconds. However, it’s been found that Alzheimer’s disease rates, among others, are lower than average in Mediterranean countries, which is possibly related to their above average consumption of olive oil and their balanced diet.
Studies have been conducted with mice and olive oil to examine the results it has on their brain cells and function, and results have indicated it may aid in removing plaques, a build up of which is a symptom for Alzheimer’s. Studies have also indicated an improvement in brain function in humans in relation to an increase of intake of extra virgin olive oil, as seen in memory tests and more. (19)(20)
Overall, a diet that features olive oil may actually be able to keep the heart and body young and healthy. Hundreds of studies over the years have proven time and time again that olive oil can have a positive effect on the human body in one capacity or another, further improving an individual’s lifespan and quality of life.
See our full range of delicious olive oils here, and treat yourself to a healthy boost of flavour.
- (1) – https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/nutrition-research-reviews/article/phenolic-compounds-of-olive-oil-structure-biological-activity-and-beneficial-effects-on-human-health/EE4FA28B6CD751AA15B278589A447A3D
- (2) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12550060
- (3) – http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/cn400024q
- (4) – http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0071702
- (5) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16136122
- (6) – http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1200303
- (7) – http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/11410071
- (8) – http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/34/1/14.full
- (9) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28712181
- (10) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24775425
- (11) – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/228671.php
- (12) – https://1.oliveoiltimes.com/library/ucd-blood-pressure.pdf
- (13) – https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/food-and-nutrition/faq-20058439
- (14) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17168666
- (15) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11008902
- (16) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15554560
- (17) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10882862
- (18) – http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23723556.2015.1006077#abstract
- (19) – https://www.alz.org/documents_custom/2017-facts2017_infographic.pdf
- (20) – http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0071702