(Natural News) Olive oil is a superfood powerhouse and scientific data proves that it is worth all the hype. This cooking oil is flavorful and full of healthy fats.
When incorporated into a balanced diet, olive oil can offer many benefits, such as supporting gut health and protecting against heart disease.
Beneficial compounds in olive oil
Olive oil is a type of fat that comes from olives. There are different types of olive oil, but all of them are made through a process that involves washing, crushing, milling and pitting olives to extract their oil.
The finished product contains a combination of beneficial compounds such as fatty acids, polyphenols and vitamin E, all of which can help boost your overall well-being.
Olive oil is a main component of the Mediterranean diet, a healthy eating plan traditionally followed by people who live in countries along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Countries that follow the diet include Greece, Italy, Spain, North Africa and parts of the Middle East. (Related: Regular olive oil consumption found to reduce mortality risk.)
Balanced diets incorporating olive oil have been shown to support health in different ways. Various studies have also identified special compounds in olive oil that have beneficial protective effects on the body.
Here are eight of the most impressive science-backed health benefits of olive oil.
Olive oil contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds
Olive oil contains various compounds that help regulate inflammation in the body such as the polyphenols hydroxytyrosol (HT) and hydroxytyrosol acetate (HT-ac).
These compounds help inhibit inflammatory signaling pathways and reduce the upregulation of inflammatory enzymes like cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS).
Data from a 2015 review of 30 studies published in the journal Nutrients revealed that using olive oil daily in doses ranging from one milligram to 50 mg significantly decreased levels of the inflammatory markers C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 compared to control treatments.
Olive oil protects against atherosclerosis
Olive oil naturally contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds like polyphenols that help fight against atherosclerosis or the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
Olive oil compounds help minimize oxidative stress and improve blood vessel function. Additionally, olive oil helps decrease the production of inflammatory molecules like adhesion molecules2, which has a large role in the development and progression of atherosclerosis.
According to a 2021 article published in the journal Stroke, those with heart disease who followed an olive oil-rich Mediterranean diet for seven years had decreased atherosclerosis progression compared to people on a low-fat diet.
Olive oil helps lower heart disease risk
Data suggests that diets rich in olive oil can also help boost high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and lower high blood pressure. This is why olive oil intake is often associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
Data from a 2021 study in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology revealed that U.S. adults who consumed more than seven grams of a one-half tablespoon of olive oil per day had a 14 percent lower risk of heart disease compared to those who didn’t consume olive oil.
Olive oil is mostly composed of monounsaturated fatty acids. It is also low in saturated fats, so it remains liquid at room temperature.
While olive oil’s high content of unsaturated fats means it can support heart health, following a balanced diet is key to disease prevention.
Olive oil benefits gut health
Maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria in your digestive tract is crucial for your well-being.
According to research, using olive oil may help reduce disease-causing bacteria and stimulate the growth of protective bacteria. Olive oil can also help boost the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs).
SCFAs are a byproduct of the bacterial fermentation of fiber. SCFAs fuel intestinal cells and strengthen the gut lining. These fatty acids also help fight against inflammation.
Data from human studies revealed that diets rich in olive oil can help boost levels of beneficial lactic acid bacteria (LAB). On the other hand, animal studies have shown that olive oil consumption may help shift the gut-bacteria ratio in a way that prevents colon cancer.
Olive oil supports brain health
According to a 2022 study published in the journal Nutrients, those people with mild cognitive impairment who were supplemented with 30 mL of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) per day for six months experienced significant improvements in behavioral and clinical dementia rating (CDR) scores.
Scientists who conducted the study reported that the EVOO also helped boost the function of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), a barrier between the blood vessels of the brain and the brain tissue that prevents harmful substances from reaching the brain.
The breakdown and dysfunction of the BBB have been linked to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
Research has also found that the use of olive oil may reduce the accumulation of amyloid plaques linked to the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s.
Olive oil could benefit people with Type 2 diabetes
Olive oil’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties make it an ideal choice for people with Type 2 diabetes.
Diets rich in olive oil can help reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and olive oil supplementation may help improve certain health parameters in individuals with the condition.
A 2017 review in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes revealed that people with the highest intake of olive oil have a 16 percent reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes compared to people with the lowest intake.
The 2017 review also revealed that olive oil supplementation significantly reduced the long-term blood sugar control marker hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and fasting blood sugar in those with Type 2 diabetes compared to those in the control groups.
Olive oil contains vitamin E
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient that acts as an antioxidant in the body and helps protect cells against oxidative damage. The vitamin also have crucial roles in immune function and cellular communication.
However, many people’s diets don’t include enough of this essential nutrient. According to research, at least 90 percent of men and 96 of women in America have insufficient intake of vitamin E.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one tablespoon of olive oil provides around 20 percent of the recommended intake for vitamin E.
But studies show that the vitamin E content of olive oil varies significantly depending on factors like the type of olive the oil was derived, the ripeness of the fruit and the climate where it was grown. This is why you need to use high-quality olive oil.
Olive oil boosts skin and hair health
A 2022 article from the International Journal of Trichology showed that olive oil can help nourish hair by providing protection from sun damage, moisturizing the hair cuticle and soothing the scalp.
Olive oil may also help heal small wounds and burns. The oil also has occlusive properties, meaning it can help seal water on the skin. Note that the oil itself is not moisturizing.
How to incorporate olive oil into a balanced diet
Unlike other cooking oils, olive oil is safe to use every day. Research has found that those who regularly consume olive oil have a lower risk of health conditions like heart disease and obesity.
If you’re not sure how to choose high-quality olive oil, experts recommend buying organic, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oils.
Here are some healthy ways to incorporate olive oil into a balanced diet:
- Pair vanilla ice cream with olive oil and a bit of sea salt.
- Make a healthy and tasty snack by combining plain Greek yogurt and some olive oil, salt, pepper and sriracha. Eat the yogurt dip with pita chips.
- Use olive oil to make homemade dressing for salads.
- Drizzle olive oil on roasted vegetables for a dose of healthy fats.
- Pour a bit of EVOO into no-heat recipes like pesto, hummus and salads.
- Use olive oil as a finishing touch on dishes like grain bowls or pasta.
- Try using olive oil for low to moderate-heat cooking methods like sauteing.
- Poach eggs or fish in olive oil.
- When serving a cheese plate at a party, especially if you have hard cheeses like parmesan, drizzle olive oil with freshly grated pepper on top.
Store olive oil in a cool, dark place like your pantry. Heat and sunlight can make the oil degrade and this can result in unpleasant changes in its taste and aroma.
Visit Superfood.news to learn more about superfoods that help boost overall health.
Watch the video below to learn how olives can help protect against liver disease.
This video is from the Groovy Bee channel on Brighteon.com.
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