There is always new research coming out on the benefits of olive oil. We’ve assembled 21 Remarkable Benefits of Olive Oil below:
1. Beneficial Monounsaturated Fats
While extra virgin olive oil does admit to carrying 14% of saturated fat, its monounsaturated fats make up for it as they consist of 73% of the total oil content.
So, what’s the benefit of monounsaturated fats?
They provide lots of essential fatty acids which are known to lower cholesterol, balance blood sugar levels, and reduce our risk of chronic illnesses.
Monounsaturated fats aren’t the only healthy fats in olive oil…
2. Healthy Fat
Healthy fat sounds like a juxtaposition – can fat be healthy? Yes.
Unsaturated fats are recognizable because they are liquid at room temperature. They are also required for our bodies’ survival.
They not only improve cholesterol but build cell membranes, ease muscle inflammation, and are a high source of energy.
Other than monounsaturated fat, olive oil is a source of polyunsaturated fat…
3. Polyunsaturated Fat and Omega-3
Polyunsaturated fats are a force to be reckoned with. They reduce your risk of strokes and heart disease, but also contain Omega-3 fatty acids – essential fat for the human body which we can’t produce ourselves. The fatty acids help to keep the lining of our arteries smooth and clear, and prevents plaque build-up.
4. Oleic Acid
Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fat, and apparently has a role to play in enhancing brain function and encouraging cell synthesis to reduce the development of cancerous proteins.
Olive oil is high in oleic acid which is the reason for the oil’s impressive benefits of reducing high blood pressure.
5. Anti-Inflammatory Properties Help Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s
Inflammation is your body’s defensive reaction to injury or disease. However, chronic inflammation is this defensive state in the long-term. It causes an increased risk of DNA damage, cancer. and Alzheimer’s disease.
Olive oil’s anti-inflammatory properties come from its antioxidants, which work to protect the brain from inflammation.
The Mediterranean diet is hugely beneficial if you want to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and see the many other benefits of olive oil.
6. Prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis
In its mastery of anti-inflammatory properties, high-quality olive oil can contribute to preventing rheumatoid arthritis.
Olive Oil contains Oleocanthal, an antioxidant which works in a similar manner to popular anti-inflammatory medications. It has been reported that 3 1/2 Tbsp. of olive oil is equal to a 200-mg tablet of ibuprofen.
Olive oil has the ability to seemingly improve inflammatory markers, and reduce oxidative stress…
7. Reduce Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is when there are too many free radicals in the body for anti-oxidants to stabilize. This causes damage to the body’s fatty tissue and DNA. Over time, this can develop into diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and arthritis, to name a few.
A balanced diet rich in antioxidants can harmonize the disparity of free radicals, and consequently reduce oxidative stress.
8. Antioxidants in Olive Oil May Reduce the Risk of Cancer
Oxidative damage caused by free radicals in the body is considered to be one of the causes of cancers.
However, the antioxidant properties in olive oil have been tested in clinical trials and studies to deduce if they can fight cancer cells. So far, research has shown them to be beneficial in cancer prevention.
Further research is ongoing, yet it is a positive step!
9. Increase Weight Loss
Ever wondered how the Spanish, French and Italians all maintain great figures, yet their cuisines are so delicious you can’t stop eating? Have you discovered the Mediterranean Diet?
The monounsaturated fatty acids which stabilize blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy heart also contribute to weight loss.
Eating a dish containing olive oil can produce a feeling of satiety or satisfaction. This leaves you with less desire to continue eating.
10. Phenolic Compounds Are Really Good For Us
Phenolic compounds are antioxidants found in plant-based foods such as:
- Dark leafy greens
- Vividly-colored vegetables
- Red fruits
They control the foods’ quality, especially the color and flavor.
Unsurprisingly, phenolic compounds are extensively found in Mediterranean foods. There are numerous ongoing studies exploring the benefits of these antioxidants. Some of these include reducing risks of cancer and the prevention of developing complications in type 2 diabetes including cardiovascular disease.
11. Improve Bone Health and Help Prevent Osteoporosis
Similarly, there is plenty of research exploring how olive oil can improve our bone health. Those phenolic compounds work their magic in multiple different ways!
Osteoporosis is a degenerative disease caused by aging and can also be attributed by diet and lifestyle.
Eating a phenolic-rich Mediterranean diet can help to keep our bones healthy and strong, therefore reducing the risk of bone fractures in old age.
12. Great Source of Vitamins E and K
As if the previous 11 points weren’t enough, olive oil is also a good source of vitamin E and vitamin K.
Vitamin E is not as well-known as other vitamins, however, it plays an important role in producing red blood cells, ensuring our blood vessels are healthy and improving our immune function. Interestingly, vitamin E also acts as an antioxidant and helps to fight those free radicals which can lead to all sorts of illnesses.
Vitamin K, typically found in green leafy vegetables, is required by the body to keep bones strong and is important for blood clotting. There is a lot of research on vitamin K and its relationship to osteoporosis and coronary heart disease.
One tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil provides:
- Vitamin E: 13% RDA
- Vitamin K: 7%-9% RDA
13. Overall Heart Health Includes Olive Oil
All those incredible fatty acids and antioxidants that we have already talked about are essential for your heart, working to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Olive oil’s anti-inflammatory properties, and its ability to reduce LDL cholesterol, managing blood clotting and lowering blood pressure, are vital for heart health including preventing the chances of heart disease and strokes. In fact, these benefits are strongly evidenced in the research of numerous studies presented by the American Heart Association.
The Mediterranean diet is highly recommended for heart health.
14. Benefits for People With Diabetes and Insulin Resistance
As olive oil is known to successfully reduce blood sugar levels, it is beneficial for people with diabetes, when the pancreas can’t produce enough insulin to transport the blood sugar to the body’s cells for energy – instead, the sugars just build up in the blood.
Many studies are exploring the use of olive oil in improve diabetic health, including helping those with insulin resistance in which the body’s cells do not react well to insulin.
15. Olive Oil Promotes Healthy Levels of ‘Bad’ LDL Cholesterol
Low-density lipoproteins (a combination of fat and protein) are known as ‘bad’ cholesterol because they can cause a build-up of plaque in our arteries. A high level of LDL cholesterol in your blood can result in your arteries becoming completely blocked which has dangerous consequences of heart attacks.
So, how can olive oil help?
It’s thanks to those powerful antioxidants again!
A Mediterranean diet can help to improve high-density lipoproteins (‘good’ cholesterol) which removes cholesterol from plaque in the arteries, and relaxes blood vessels ensuring the blood flow.
16. Antibacterial, Antimicrobial, and Antiviral
One of the phenolic compounds is called oleuropein and apparently has antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral properties to fight against human pathogens.
We mostly associate ‘antibacterial’ with hand sanitizer, but that is not exactly what oleuropein and other compounds do. They act to reduce the growth of harmful bacteria and assist the gut’s growth of beneficial bacteria.
17. Olive Oil is a Blessing for Your Digestive Tract
These phenolic compounds work wonders for your gut, too. Some of them, including oleuropein, work to balance the bacteria in our digestive tracts, as well as hindering the increase of unwanted or harmful bacteria.
Olive oil can be easily digested due to it preventing the absorption of cholesterol in the small intestine, and by encouraging development of amino acids, which help us to ingest nutrients.
18. Prevent Stomach Ulcers
A main cause of stomach ulcers is the growth of H. pylori bacteria in the stomach lining The phenolic compounds in olive oil specifically target this unwanted bacteria, inhibiting its growth. Plus, these impressive and powerful antioxidants were allegedly active against eight different strains of the bacteria.
19. Olive Oil Benefits Your Hair and Skin
Besides all of these impressive skills at benefiting our health, olive oil is also adept in the beauty department.
The antioxidants which make olive oil so remarkable also contribute anti-aging properties, making it hydrating and moisturizing.
Olive oil can be used a hair mask and conditioner, soothing broken and split hairs, while the antioxidants target inflammation and damage if applied to the skin.
One health benefit we haven’t mentioned yet is mental health, but apparently olive oil has that covered too!
Studies claim that the Mediterranean diet is linked to an improved mood and better mental health, including reduced stress and anxiety.
An imbalanced diet of too much Omega-6 and not enough Omega-3 can cause an increase in depression, so enhancing your diet with Omega-3-rich olive oil can swing things around.
And, not only that, but it can also boost brain function…
21. Olive Oil is Your Cognitive Health Cheerleader
Olive oil allegedly encourages higher levels of the antioxidant glutathione in the brain. Glutathione is a crucial factor in memory and brain function, and reduces oxidative stress.
Regular olive oil consumption can lead to a better visual memory and verbal fluency, plus can assist in reducing the risk of dementia in old age.
Easy Recipes to Eat More Olive Oil
Check out some of my easy and healthy recipes using extra virgin olive oil. A couple of my favorites are: