Olive oil has been a staple in the Mediterranean diet for thousands of years. Widely heralded for its distinct taste and multitude of health benefits, it is easy to see why the use of olive oil has skyrocketed all over the world. Derived from olives, this oil is used in a variety of foods, vitamins and health and beauty products.
The quality of the oil is determined by the type of olive and oil extraction techniques. The purer the extraction process, the more health benefits the extracted oil will have. There are hundreds of types of olives, and each type has additional benefits. Here are some of olive oil’s most impressive benefits.
1. Improves Heart Health
Olive oil helps to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels to promote healthy cholesterol (HDL) levels. This is important in the fight against cardiovascular disease. Lower LDL cholesterol levels make it harder for fatty tissues to form and harden in the arteries and blood vessels leading to and from the heart.
2. Lowers Blood Pressure
Regular ingestion of olive oil along with a diet that is low in saturated fat can help to regulate blood pressure. People that use olive oil regularly and suffer from high blood pressure can decrease their systolic and diastolic blood pressure without the use of medication.
3. Promotes Healthy Hair and Skin
Regular consumption and use of olive oil can improve the condition and physical appearance of one’s hair and skin. Olive oil encourages the removal of impurities from beneath the skin, resulting in a healthier and glowing appearance. When it is applied topically, it helps to moisturize and soften dry skin and hair. When ingested regularly, it can help to improve the skin’s overall texture and help one to maintain a youthful appearance.
4. Lowers Risk of Cancer
Individuals who regularly incorporate olive oil into their diets and eliminate the use of saturated fats have a significantly lower risk of developing breast, colorectal and respiratory cancers. Recent research shows that when olive oil is taken with lycopene (a nutrient that is found in tomatoes), it can increase one’s protection against skin cancer.
5. Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a condition in which sufferers have chronic issues with obesity, high blood pressure, abnormal blood sugar and cholesterol levels. This disease is very hard to manage and often leads to the development of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even death. Metabolic syndrome sufferers that regularly consume olive oil, along with other staples in the Mediterranean diet, such as whole grains, fish, beans and little to no red meat are able to reduce their risk of the disease and even get rid of it all together.
6. Prevent Osteoporosis
Olive oil can prevent the premature deterioration of bone tissue. Osteoporosis is a condition that affects millions of people, especially older adults. People that regularly consume olive oil have thicker bones than those who do not.
7. Improves Digestive Health
Olive oil is high in vitamin E and polyphenols which increases its ability to improve cellular health while reducing inflammation in the body. Olive oil also stimulates peptide production to encourage healthy digestion and improve nutrient absorption.
Things to Consider
Much of the olive’s medicinal benefits come from its hydroxytyrosol, oleuropein, and phenol content. Few foods or substances have as much phytonutrient content as the olive. Although olive oil has a whole host of medicinal benefits, one does need to exercise caution. Consuming abnormally high amounts of this substance can have a negative impact on your health because it is very high in calories. Consuming as much as four tablespoons per day is enough to enable you to experience its many benefits without going overboard. Although, olive oil can be consumed raw or cooked, most of its health benefits can only be obtained when olive oil is not cooked.
People that use olive oil or take olive supplements on a regular basis can enjoy improved cardiovascular, repository, musculoskeletal, immune, inflammatory and physical health. Purity determines the effectiveness of the oil. Extra virgin olive oil offers the most benefits and the best taste. People that are unable to enjoy the taste of the oil do have the option to purchase it in supplement form for easier consumption.
With the regular use of olive oil and additional nutritional supplements, it is possible for one to achieve optimal health. Before starting any supplements, contact your doctor or nutritionist to learn more about which supplements are most beneficial to your situation.