Olive oil is a food substance that humans have been consuming for thousands of years, both for its distinctive and enticing flavor, as well as for its numerous health benefits.
While some may disagree about the consumption of fats in the diet, it is well known that fat is one of the three macro nutrients essential to the human body. As well, there are more and more studies attesting to the health benefits of olive oil specifically.
These health benefits are mainly attributed to the oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid or MUFA, found in olive oil and which makes up almost three quarters of the oil, as well as to its extraordinarily high content of polyphenols that provide numerous antioxidant benefits, although olive oil does contains other nutrients, such as vitamin E and vitamin K.
One of the main health benefits associated with the consumption of Olive Oil is its ability to help reduce inflammation, which is considered by many as the root cause of most chronic diseases we see today, including heart disease, cancer, metabolic conditions, diabetes, obesity, dementia and alzheimers etc…
Olive Oil has also been found to be helpful when it with heart disease and stroke through a number of different ways including lowering blood pressure and improving the functioning of blood vessels.
More recent studies have also found that consuming olive oil provides benefits to the brain and various cognitive conditions, which is especially important given the rising rates of dementia, parkinson’s and alzheimer’s. This benefit is attributed to a polyphenol called Oleocanthal.
Other health benefits associated with olive oil are
protection against skin cancer, breast cancer
protection against depression
improves mineralization of bones
strengthens cell walls…
The less processed the olive oil is, the more it will retain its powerful nutrients that provide all of these health benefits. That means that at minimum, we should be looking for it a cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, but the more natural you can get it, the more you will benefit from these compounds.
It is also suggested that you not heat the oil, as this can damage some of the more fragile of these compounds, drizzle over a dish after cooking, use as a salad dressing, as a dip for fresh organic sourdough bread, add it in your smoothies or just drink a shot! (as per the latest health trend. But if you want to reap the health benefits of Olive Oil, just make sure you choose a quality olive oil!