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Olive oil is the only kind of vegetable oil that can be used straight from the fruit of its origin. It is beneficial for health due to its high concentration on monounsaturated fatty acids as well as its high concentration in vitamins and antioxidants.
From an early age, research has shown that Olive oil can prevent and protect humans from a range of diseases such as heart diseases, different types of cancer as well as protecting the digestive system. In addition due to its high in vitamins and antioxidants profile, olive oil can protect your immune system.
It has been also found that consuming olive oil can have a positive effect in people with high blood pressure and patients with diabetes. Last but not least, olive oil is also important for fetal growth during the period of pregnancy and the period of breast-feeding.
Let’s have a closer look to olive oil and its health benefits:
Rich in antioxidants
Olive oil is being called by many doctors as the healing fat, and that is true from a health perspective. Olive oil contains a great amount of antioxidants such as: Vitamin E, phenol compounds and carotenoids.
It is already known that phenols offer a range of health benefits. For example, the high antioxidant profile of the Mediterranean diet appears to play an important role to its effect on prolonged life.
In general, antioxidants defend against the action of free radicals and fight against the development of cancers. Extra Virgin Olive oil, which means that comes from the first pressing of the oils, is loaded with more antioxidants than the regular one. This is because it is less strained.
Protects the heart
According to research, it is now well known that cardiovascular diseases and especially arteriosclerosis are closely related to eating habits, environment and lifestyle factors.
The development of arteriosclerosis is dependable on many factors such as high blood cholesterol and blood pressure as well as diabetes and the frequency of smoking.
Research has found that Olive oil can fight the heart diseases by limiting LDL cholesterol while increasing the HDL. There is no other type of oil that has such an increased amount of monounsaturated fats as olive oil.
Can decrease blood pressure
There is current evidence that habitual consumption of olive oil has a clear effect on decreasing blood pressure. Specifically regular consumption of Olive oil can decrease both diastolic and systolic blood pressure, which lead to a decreased risk factor for the development of arteriosclerosis, the main health issue in the developed countries.
Good for the digestive system
Olive oil is well tolerated by the human stomach and is known to have a beneficial effect on gastritis and ulcers. What is more, it decreases the risk of the gastric juice from the food to return to the esophagus and causing problems.
Additionally, olive oil initiates the secretion of the pancreatic hormones much more efficiently and smoothly than the prescribed drugs. Therefore it eliminates the occurrence of forming gallstones.
Last but not least, olive oil can prevent cholesterol absorption within the small intestine while it can also stimulate the uptake of a range of other nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and iron.
Olive oil and cognitive diseases
It is proven from research that olive oil has the potent to prevent cognitive related diseases such as memory loss. There is less probability to suffer from an age-related cognitive decline when people are following a diet rich in monounsaturated fats.
Specifically, these fatty acids can contribute to maintain the structure of the brain cell membranes while they are seem to be needed more alongside ageing.
What about weight loss?
Researchers support the idea that olive oil can help with weight loss for many reasons. The main reason is because when you are adding olive oil to your food, a hormone named “cholecystokinin” (CCK) is released, which sends signals to the brain that stomach is full.
However, it is unknown till now how large the role of CCK is in order to prevent and stop weight gain. Therefore, although olive oil may stop you from eating more, it has calories (40 calories per teaspoon) and obviously to get the most benefits out of it in terms of weight loss and health, it has to be added to a balanced diet in accordance to an exercise program.
There are many ways to enjoy olive oil…
To enjoy the usage of olive oil, I would suggest you to make healthful salad dressings and light marinades. You can also drizzle it over cooked vegetables and pasta.
In my opinion it can replace successfully butter on bread, potatoes or vegetables. As a general advice, you should keep olive oil between low to medium temperatures since refrigerated oil will become eventually solidify and it will be much more difficult to be used to your cooking.
References used in this article