Olive oil is known for its status as a staple of the Mediterranean diet and its popularity as a healthy cooking oil, thanks to its tolerance for high heat. Olive oil is full of vitamins E and K, nutrients called phenols, and a variety of antioxidants. Popular interest in olive oil’s health benefits has led to extensive research over the years, and the findings are promising to say the least. Here are six of the most impressive olive oil discoveries to date:
1. Protects you from heart disease and stroke.
Olive oil’s ability to protect you from heart disease and stroke has been thoroughly documented: a 2014 study involving 841,000 participants confirmed a 17% decrease in risk of stroke in people who regularly consumed olive oil. Why? Olive oil is made up of roughly 75% healthy (monounsaturated) fats. These healthy fats “clean” your blood by reducing your LDL or “bad” cholesterol, strengthen your blood vessels, and lower your blood pressure overall.
2. Reduces inflammation.
Olive oil acts as a natural anti-inflammatory throughout the body. This can help to relieve your everyday aches and pains or arthritis symptoms of course, but persistent inflammation is also believed to be one of the culprits behind the development of serious diseases like diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, so keeping inflammation down is always a smart move.
3. Smoothes skin and hair.
Thanks to its combination of polyphenols and vitamin E, olive oil works wonderfully as a natural moisturizer. You can work it directly into your hair, or mix it with your shampoo to keep frizz and dry scalp at bay. Olive oil’s antibacterial properties make it great for your complexion too - it gently removes excess oil from your skin, fights acne, soothes eczema, and the antioxidants help keep wrinkles away.
4. Supports digestive health.
In lab studies, regularly eating olive oil has been shown to keep blood sugar at a more controlled level after eating, so add diabetes prevention to the list of pros! Olive oil also promotes good digestion and helps you maintain a healthy weight.
5. Improves cognitive function.
Dementia is caused by the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain. These plaques block normal neuron function and cause cognition to continually worsen over time. Although more research is needed, several studies have shown a link between regular olive oil consumption and a lower risk of memory-related illness like dementia.
6. May prevent cancer.
There is exciting research showing that olive oil may reduce the likelihood of several types of cancer - one study in particular found that injecting cancer cells with oleic acid from olive oil actually killed cancer cells!
When you’re purchasing olive oil, I always recommend going with extra-virgin. Extra-virgin olive oil is processed without chemicals or high temperatures, so all those antioxidants and nutrients stay pure all the way through the refining process. For more questions about naturopathic health or healthier eating, schedule a consultation with me here https://www.eohinfo.com/schedule-appointment. I look forward to speaking with you!