Health Benefits of Olive Oil
Unless you’ve been hiding out in the Bat Cave or stranded on a deserted island, you’ve probably heard that olive oil is good for you. But do you know how olive oil consumption benefits your health?
Olive oil has been studied extensively by researchers around the world, and its health benefits stem from its type of fat and its antioxidant content. The type of fat in olive oil is mainly monounsaturated fat. This type of fat is good for your heart and your cholesterol levels.
Olive oil also contains two beneficial antioxidants. Oleocanthal is an anti-inflammatory substance that works like ibuprofen, and oleuropein protects LDL-cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) against breaking down.
Studies have shown that regular intake of olive oil can provide benefits in the following areas:
Heart Health: According to a recent review study published in Pharmacological Research, regular olive oil intake decreases risk of high blood pressure, stroke, high cholesterol, and inflammation. Another study published in Neurology also found that regular intake of olive oil may prevent stroke in older people.
Type 2 Diabetes: A Spanish research study showed that a diet rich in monounsaturated fats (such as olive oil) reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Breast Cancer: The antioxidant oleocanthal may protect against breast cancer, according to a Spanish study.
Depression: Regular intake of olive oil may help prevent development of depression in some individuals as reported in the medical journal PLOS ONE.
Alzheimer’s Disease: A study conducted in mice found that olive oil has the “potential to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease or related neurodegenerative dementias.” More studies are needed to confirm these findings.
So how can you add olive oil to your diet? Try some of the following ideas:
— Saute or roast vegetables with olive oil
— Make your own mayonnaise using olive oil
— Add it to salad dressings, pasta, and marinades
— Use it as a dip for bread with herbs, sea salt, and spices
— Drizzle it over popcorn
- Lisa Emmert