Why is olive oil good for your health?
Why is olive oil good for your health?
When we talk about dieting, healthy living, and a holistic approach to eating we often mention the same few foods and ingredients: organic fruits and vegetables rich in fiber, herbs and spices with antioxidant properties, fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and lots of water. No matter what diet you follow, the chances of you stumbling upon these foods are extremely high. After all, they’re the pillars of every healthy way of eating, especially the Mediterranean diet: very low red meat consumption, moderate fish consumption, moderate (sometimes even low) dairy consumption, and moderate wine intake. The diet focuses primarily on a variety of local vegetables, fruits, and healthy oils and nuts.

If you’ve ever followed the Mediterranean diet, famous for its ability to cure diseases, help the body recover quickly, and promote a longer, healthier life, then you’ve surely met face to face with one of its all-stars: olive oil. Olive oil is an integral part of the diet; it’s its main source of fat, in fact. Olive trees can be seen all around the Mediterranean, so it’s no surprise that our Greek, Spanish, and Italian friends live a happy, relaxed, long, and fulfilling life! Let’s dive head on and see what makes olive oil so healthy, and hopefully, convince you to try it out for yourself!

What gives olive oil its powerful properties?

Given its widespread use, it’s no surprise that we know pretty much everything about it. Its main benefits stem from its rich quantity of polyphenols – chemical compounds that can be found naturally in certain foods like fruits & vegetables, dark chocolate, herbs & spices, red wine, and in some herbs. Polyphenols act as antioxidants – they fight off the free radicals inside our organism, protecting our cells and decreasing the likelihood we develop conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.

However, a recent study has discovered that olive oil’s main component – oleic acid, which makes up 70-80% of its composition, has a plethora of health benefits, too: it can help prevent cancer, it can lower cholesterol, and it can even aid in preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease. Experts from the Faculties of Pharmacy and Medicine at the University of Seville, Spain, claim that oleic acid is not only a vital part of the Mediterranean diet, as it is a major component of several foods, but that it’s also synthesized within our bodies. This makes it the most widespreadmonounsaturated fatty acid in our organism, and also the one most abundant in our food. Throughout the years, medical professionals have observed a decrease in the quantity of oleic acid in patients with depressive disorders and Alzheimer’s.

How does oleic acid help prevent cancer?

Oleic acid has several functions, the primary one being serving as an energy molecule in the cell membrane. Apart from that, it also has antioxidant properties and a hypocholesterolaemic effect – it can inhibit the expression of proteins which take part in cholesterol transport, which can help reduce the absorption of cholesterol, and lead to the prevention of atherosclerosis.

Another benefit of oleic acid is its strong anti-cancer properties. Olive oil’s main compound can prevent the expression of cancer genes, diminishing their ability to carry out programmed cell death. Lastly, a number of scientists agree that oleic acid can also be considered an anti-inflammatory molecule.

In fact, studies show that a derivative of oleic acid – oleoylethanolamide, has most of the same effects as oleic acid itself, most notably antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Other studies claim that moderate consumption of olive oil can help obese people control their weight better. A third group of scientists have carried out studies which show that oleic acid can influence the organism on an epigenetic level – it can directly modify DNA and its associated proteins. Lastly, there are several studies picturing olive oil’s compounds as being able to modulate certain cells, which have something to do with inflammation, thus regulating and strengthening our immune system.

In conclusion

We highly recommend you give olive oil a shot. As far as healthy fats go, it’s definitely one of the best. If you’re a health fanatic and want only the best food sources, then go ahead and look into the Mediterranean diet – not only does it promote good overall health, but it also promotes longevity, mental clarity, and a natural increase in energy levels.

The beauty of olive oil is its versatility – you can freely use it in any dish, but it goes especially well with salads and vegetable roasts. If you can get your hands on some extra-virgin olive oil, even better! What makes it superior is the way it’s produced – by cold-pressing olives. The process doesn’t involve any heat and no chemicals are used. It’s the most expensive, but purest form of olive oil.

Take advantage of nature’s wonders – find ways to add at least one tablespoon of olive oil to your daily food intake. In our opinion, the best way to consume it is definitely by adding a drizzle of it into your favorite salad. Not only are vegetables great carriers for olive oil, but a salad without it is like a relationship without love – there’s simply no bond!

On a side note

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