Health Benefits for Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Heart

1. CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE: Spanish researchers recently discovered that endothelial function of the arteries in the elderly can be improved by the consumption of monounsaturated fats, such as extra virgin olive oil to reduce the risk of heart disease.

2. BLOOD PRESSURE: Extra virgin olive oil has shown to help decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. One study showed that four tablespoons of olive oil a day reduced the need for blood pressure medication in participants.

3. CHOLESTEROL: Just two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil a day has shown to help lower total cholesterol by helping to reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Even more, it has shown to help improve HDL cholesterol, thus improving the critical balance between LDL and HDL.

Brain

1. ALZHEIMER’S: Studies have shown that oleocanthal, a polyphenol found in extra virgin olive oil, has the potential to reduce cognitive decline that comes with aging, including Alzheimer’s disease.

2. DEPRESSION: According to Spanish researchers from the University of Navarra and Las Palmas de Gran Canarias, a diet rich in olive oil can protect from mental illness, including depression.

3. STROKE: A new study conducted in France showed that participants who cooked with and consumed olive oil had a 41% lower risk of stroke compared to those that did not use olive oil at all.

Bones

1. SKIN CANCER: Along with a Mediterranean diet, extra virgin olive oil has shown to contribute to the prevention of the dangerous form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma. The antioxidant properties of extra virgin olive oil help to counter the oxidation from the sun.

Heart

1. OSTEOPOROSIS: Extra virgin olive oil consumption can help improve bone mineralization and calcification. It helps the body absorb calcium, which is a key player in preventing osteoporosis, aiding in thickening the bones.

Diet

1. DIABETES: Symptoms of diabetes can be alleviated by a diet rich in soluble fiber from fruits and vegetables, monounsaturated fats, such as extra virgin olive oil, low in saturated fat and moderate in carbohydrates. It helps to regulate blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity.

2. OBESITY: A diet of nutrient dense foods as the main source of calories helps to improve satiety, which prevents snacking on nutrient void high calorie foods that can lead to overeating and eventually obesity. Of course, fat is a big factor in the satiety we feel after eating. Not only that but fat helps stimulate the gastric reflux to help us digest the foods we consume. Extra virgin olive oil is an example of a nutrient dense fat that helps you feel more satiated.

3. OXIDATIVE STRESS: Exposure to air pollution and cigarette smoke as well as consumption of fried foods or alcohol can cause free radicals to form in the body. Vitamin E, found in extra virgin olive oil, is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body from the damage caused by free radicals, called oxidative stress. Over time, oxidative stress can lead to cancer. Extra virgin olive oil also contains polyphenols, another type of antioxidant, which also fight oxidative stress throughout your body.

4. CANCER: Oleocanthal, a phytonutrient found in extra virgin olive oil, has been shown to reduce inflammation, a leading cause of cancer. Inflammation is commonly caused by a diet rich in sugar, processed and fried foods, alcohol and environmental toxins such as cigarette smoke. Other components such as squalene and lignans are other properties of olive oil shown effective in defense of cancer.