Olive Oil health benefits
The use of olive oil was always linked to beauty and health in ancient civilizations. In 1950 Dr Ancel Keys conducted research in 7 different countries and discovered that the population in Crete was the healthiest due to what today we call “The Mediterranean Diet” (rich in vegetables, fish, fruit, nuts and olive oil as the main fat). From that point there were thousands of medical studies from different countries and organisations to discover what are the benefits of olive oil and the components that produce them.
We will summarize briefly the conclusions of a few studies (some links are provided where you can obtain more information). To get all the benefits from olive oil it has been recommended not to exceed the consumption of 3 tablespoons of oil per day (40ml) and always use Extra Virgin Olive Oil as it retains all the health benefits.
Olive oil’s health benefits are based on its components: fatty acid 98% (oleic, palmitico, estearico..) and its minor components 2% vitamins A,D,E,K, F, polyphenols and antioxidants.
Some of the Health Benefits that Olive Oil produces as a part of the Mediterranean Diet are as follows:
- Olive oil lowers the levels of total blood cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol(bad cholesterol) and triglycerides. At the same time it does not alter the levels of HDL-cholesterol (good cholesterol) and may even raise it.
- Some studies suggest that Olive Oil can protect against certain malignant tumours (breast, prostate, digestive tract).
- It has been demonstrated that the addition of Olive Oil to a diet that is not changed in any other way has a clear lowering effect on blood pressure, which seems to be specific to this oil.
- There is recent evidence that when olive oil is consumed, the daily dose of drugs needed to control blood pressure in hypertensive patients can be decreased (possibly because of a reduction in nitric acid caused by polyphenols).
- It has been demonstrated that a diet rich in olive oil, low in saturated fats, moderately rich in carbohydrates and soluble fibre from fruit, vegetables, pulses and grains is the most effective approach for diabetics.
- Due to the amount of the antioxidants (Vitamin E) contained in Olive Oil, a diet rich in this oil means the cells are more resistant to oxidation. They do not deteriorate as much and ageing is slower, protecting against damage from free radicals and against the formation of some kinds of cancer.
- Regular consumption of olive oil may reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
- On top of polyphenols, Olive Oil has a large proportion of vitamins A, D and K, as well as vitamin E. This makes it a good aid in specific therapies to treat skin disorders such as acne, psoriasis and seborrhoea eczemas as the oil protects against the free radicals that produce cell oxidation.
For more information click in the links below: