Olive oil has many uses – in cooking as well as in personal care. While it enhances the flavor of foods and spices, it also has many properties that boost good health.
Good for health: According to research, the ingredients that make olive oil healthy include:
- Monounsaturated fats: In extracted olives – the fatty fruit of the olive tree – 24 per cent is saturated fats, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. The rest of it is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, which reduces inflammation, and may even reduce the chances of cancer by influencing the genes associated with it.
- Antioxidants: It is a moderate source of Vitamins E and K, associated with antioxidants that have proved effective in fighting severe health conditions. They can fight inflammation, prevent the oxidization of cholesterol in our blood, and reduce the incidence of heart diseases.
- Oleocanthal antioxidant: This particular antioxidant present can prevent chronic inflammation that triggers cancer, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and even obesity.
- Oleic acid: This is the main fatty acid in olive oil, and is also know to reduce levels of important inflammatory markers like CRP. By lowering inflammation, it protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation, which in turn enhances the function of the lining of the blood vessels, preventing unwanted blood clotting. It also lowers blood pressure, another risk factor for heart disease.
Weight loss: There is a popular belief that consumption of oil in general can cause weight gain and obesity. Olive oil, however, is believed to help the body stay healthy and toned. Again, the antioxidants can have a favorable impact on body weight.
Alzheimer’s disease: A common neurodegenerative disease, it is caused when beta amyloid plaques build up inside brain cells. Research suggests that olive oil can remove that plaque and improve the functioning of the brain.
Type 2 diabetes: Clinical observations suggest that olive oil has beneficial effects on blood sugar and insulin sensitivity, and can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by over 40 per cent.
Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that leads to deformed and painful joints, occurs because of the body’s immune system attacking normal cells by mistake. Olive oil supplementation has a beneficial effect on inflammatory markers, reducing oxidative stress and improving the condition. When combined with fish oil, a source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, its benefits increase.
Fighting bacteria: Olive oil effectively inhibits or kills harmful bacteria, especially Helicobacter pylori, which grows in the stomach and can cause stomach ulcers and stomach cancer.
While there are many brands and varieties of olive oil available in the market, extra virgin olive oil is the most beneficial as it contains the antioxidants and bioactive compounds needed to fight diseases. Buy a trusted brand to avoid being duped by spurious dealers.