10 benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

10 benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This article is purely informative and should not be treated as medical cure or remedy

Olive oil is widely recognised as one of the world’s healthiest oils. In fact, people tend to live longer and healthier lives in regions where olive oil is a staple part of the diet.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is the highest quality olive oil available, extracted from the olive fruit without the use of any heat or chemicals.
In this article we’re looking at the major health benefits of adding Extra Virgin Olive Oil to your diet, based on the latest scientific evidence.

1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a Fantastic Source of Antioxidants and Healthy Fats
Regular olive oil is refined and stripped of important nutrients and antioxidants.
In contrast, the natural extraction process used to produce Extra Virgin Olive Oil ensures it retains all the nutrients and antioxidants from the olive fruit.
In particular, it contains over 30 various types of phenolic compounds, which are powerful antioxidants that help protect the body against free radicals (which are the molecules that cause cell damage and contribute to disease and the aging process).
The fat composition of Extra Virgin Olive Oil is also a major contributor to its healthfulness. It’s primarily made up of monounsaturated fat (approximately 73%), a heart healthy fat that is a staple of the Mediterranean diet.
Studies consistently link a diet high in monounsaturated fat with favourable effects on markers of cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke). This includes a reduction in markers of chronic inflammation, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood glucose levels.

2. Using regularly Olive Oil Could Help Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is the number one cause of premature death worldwide.
Interestingly, populations residing in mediterranean regions have low rates of mortality from heart disease. While this is due to a combination of factors, their high consumption of Extra Virgin Olive Oil is thought to be a major one.
It appears the active compounds in Extra Virgin Olive Oil have powerful cardio-protective properties, such as helping to lower blood pressure and preventing atherosclerosis.
One giant review study, which included data from over 840,000 subjects, found that those who ate the most olive oil were 9% less likely to have heart issues and 11% less likely to die early compared to those who ate the least olive oil.

3. Olive Oil May Protect Against Stroke
Stroke is the second largest killer after heart disease.
It’s closely linked to heart disease and shares many of the same risk factors, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
One French study that compared olive oil use and stroke incidence that those who consumed the highest amounts of olive oil had a 41% lower risk of stroke. A number of other studies have also found similar results.
These findings make sense because people who use olive oil will likely be replacing other less heart healthy fats in their diet. Combine this with the high antioxidant and monounsaturated fat content in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and it’s clear why it appears to have a favourable impact on cardiovascular health.

4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil May Help Lower Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is characterised by the reduced effectiveness of insulin, the hormone that moves glucose out of the blood and into cells to be used as energy.
It’s thought that the phenolic compounds present in Extra Virgin Olive Oil aid in glucose metabolism and improve the sensitivity and effectiveness of insulin.
A large analysis found that including olive oil in your daily diet could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 13%. In comparison to a low-fat diet, a diet high in olive oil was also found to help normalise blood glucose in people who already had type 2 diabetes.
These beneficial effects are even more pronounced when combined with a Mediterranean style diet. One study found that a Mediterranean diet enriched with nuts or Extra Virgin Olive Oil decreased the risk of type 2 diabetes by more than 50%.

5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the Best Cooking Oil
There are a lot of different cooking oils that claim to be the best.
However, when you consider the major factors that influence how an oil reacts to high temperatures – oxidative stability and ratio of monounsaturated fats – Extra Virgin Olive Oil is number one.
Also, it is more practical for cooking because it comes in a variety of different flavour profiles (much like wine) and can complement both sweet and savoury dishes.

6. Cooking With Extra Virgin Olive Oil Can Make Your Food More Nutritious
Studies show that cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil can even increase the nutrient content of your food.
This is because the antioxidants in Extra Virgin Olive Oil are so resistant to high heat that they don’t break down and instead end up being absorbed by the cooked food. In addition, it also helps the cooked food to retain some nutrients that are usually lost through cooking.
For example, one study showed that when broccoli was cooked with sunflower oil or even refined olive oil, several beneficial compounds in the broccoli (such as vitamin C) were reduced. However, when cooked in Extra Virgin Olive Oil the levels of those beneficial compounds remained unchanged.

7. Olive Oil Consumption May Improve Bone Health
Olive oil, especially those rich in polyphenols such as Extra Virgin Olive Oil, may prevent bone loss with aging.
Animal and human studies propose that olive oil can inhibit bone reabsorption (the breakdown of calcium) and increase bone formation.

8. The Compounds in Olive Oil May Protect Against Certain Cancers
It’s known that what and how we eat can influence cancer risk.
Observational studies have shown a lower incidence of some cancers in regions where olive oil consumption is high.
A large analysis of 19 previous studies found that those with a higher consumption of olive oil had a lower risk of breast cancer and cancers of the digestive system.
Researchers suspect that the unique oleocanthal content of Extra Virgin Olive Oil may play a protective role. Interestingly, oleocanthal is an antioxidant that forms during the malaxation of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and is not found in any other food… not even olives!
We cannot say for certain that Extra Virgin Olive Oil has anti-cancer properties, but the early evidence is promising.

9. A Diet High in Extra Virgin Olive Oil May be Good for Brain Health
Olive oil could potentially reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related dementia.
The phenolic components of Extra Virgin Olive Oil may help clear the compounds that cause brain degeneration.
One study compared an Extra Virgin Olive Oil-enhanced Mediterranean diet with a standard low fat diet and found those on the Extra Virgin Olive Oil diet suffered less cognitive decline (loss of brain function and memory) after a 6.5 year follow up.
More research is need to confirm these benefits but it’s a hopeful area.

10. Olive Oil Can Contribute to Health and Longevity
In regions where olive oil is a central part of the diet, people tend to live longer.
A large epidemiological study followed over 40,000 Spanish subjects over 13.5 years. Those with the highest olive oil intake were far less likely to die early compared to those consuming the least amount of olive oil.
It makes sense that two of the places where people live the longest – Icaria and Sardinia – residents eat a diet rich in Extra Virgin Olive Oil.


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