Olive oil has been one of the most important oils in the Mediterranean diet, which has long been known to be one of the healthiest diets in the world. Olive oil is derived from the fruit of the olive tree, which are commonly used in cooking and in dishes like salads and spreads. It’s also used as an ingredient in many kinds of foods, including breads, cookies, crackers, and butter substitutes, because it’s so easy to use and very flavorful.
Olive oil prevents heart disease
Heart disease is one of today’s leading causes of death. According to a study in a 2012 issue of Nutrition Research, olive oil provides all 20 amino acids that are necessary for building healthy muscle and tissue. By providing these nutrients, olive oil can decrease fat levels in our blood stream, reduce artery constriction and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels. For optimum heart health, it’s best to consume extra virgin olive oil by drizzling it over salads or cooked vegetables or including it in vinaigrettes.
Olive oil lowers cholesterol
In addition to being a heart-healthy food, olive oil can also lower cholesterol levels. In a study published in Circulation Research , participants who ate a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil for four weeks saw reductions in both total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. LDL is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. To reap similar benefits, sprinkle your favorite extra-virgin olive oil on vegetables or salads or drizzle it on cooked fish.
Olive oil fights cancer
The polyphenols in olive oil work to fight free radicals that can lead to cancer. Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd number of electrons. They are usually unstable and reactive; one way they become stable is by stealing an electron from another molecule, making that molecule unstable and reactive, too. The process repeats itself in a sort of domino effect, which can wreak havoc on your cells if left unchecked. Antioxidants like polyphenols reduce oxidative stress and prevent free-radical formation within your body’s cells so they don’t have to steal their electrons from other molecules to maintain stability. By doing so, they neutralize cancer-causing agents.
Other ways olive oil improves health
Extra virgin olive oil contains high levels of a group of antioxidants called polyphenols, which protect against damage from free radicals and can help lower LDL cholesterol. Extra virgin olive oil also contains anti-inflammatory agents, making it an ideal food for those with rheumatoid arthritis or other inflammatory conditions. And because extra virgin olive oil may contain compounds that increase blood flow, it’s thought to be good for cardiovascular health. Plus, thanks to its oleic acid content, extra virgin olive oil helps prevent fat buildup in arteries, preventing blood clots and stroke—and helping maintain cognitive function as we age. It’s also been shown to reduce asthma symptoms and may help fight cancer too.
Tips for using extra virgin olive oil in your diet
Extra virgin olive oil has several healthy benefits. Some people think that it’s only good for cooking, but there are actually many ways to use extra virgin olive oil in your daily diet. If you want to reap all of these health benefits without having to take a pill, incorporating extra virgin olive oil into your diet is a great way to do it. Check out some of these ideas below
There are many benefits to be found in olive oil. Did you know that a Mediterranean diet is linked to lowered risk of heart disease and cancer? Partaking in a Mediterranean diet means eating more healthy fats such as those found in olive oil. In fact, there have been dozens of studies touting all kinds of health benefits from consuming olive oil. And, as if that wasn’t enough, olive oil contains anti-inflammatory properties that can prevent chronic diseases, too! To experience all these health benefits and more, it’s time to ditch your high-fat processed cooking oils for some good old-fashioned extra virgin olive oil. Your body will thank you.
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