HEALTH BENEFITS OF OLIVE OIL
People use olive oil in cooking, cosmetics, medicine, soaps, and much more. Olive oil originally came from the Mediterranean, but today, it is popular around the world and has many health benefits.
VITAMINS AND MINERALS
Olives are full of vitamins and minerals. They contain significant amounts of provitamin A (carotene) and vitamins B and E. In terms of minerals, calcium is the most abundant, but they have considerable amounts of potassium, iron and phosphorus.
Olives stimulate the digestive process, making them ideal for stimulating the appetite. They also constitute a natural appetiser that increases production of gastric juices and facilitates digestion. The ingestion of olives also facilitates the emptying of the gallbladder, making it useful in diseases that affect this organ of the digestive system. In this respect, there is nothing better than eating a bowl of olives before a meal.
IMPROVE YOUR MEMORY
Another benefit of olives is that they strengthen memory, since they contain polyphenols— natural chemicals that reduce oxidative stress in the brain. According to some studies performed by the University of Massachusetts, ingesting a daily portion of olives improves memory by 25 per cent. This natural remedy will help you revitalize your mental state.
Numerous studies suggest that olive oil, one of the foundations of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, may also be good for the brain. Now researchers are uncovering reasons why the aromatic oil, part of the traditional diet of Mediterranean countries like Italy, Greece and Spain, may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
In one study, scientists at the University of Louisiana College of Pharmacy tested a component of olive oil called oleocanthal on the brains of mice that had been bred to develop a disease resembling Alzheimer’s in people. The substance, they found, appears to help speed up the removal of beta-amyloid, the toxic protein that builds up in the brains of Alzheimer’s victims, forming gummy plaques. The findings appeared in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience.
New research shows extra virgin olive oil can help reduce the chance of heart disease in those at high risk. The study has found increasing your extra virgin olive oil consumption by 10g a day could cut your risk of cardiovascular death and heart disease by 10 per cent.
Researchers analysed the effect of a Mediterranean diet on the prevention of cardiovascular disease in more than 7,200 men and women between 55 and 80 years old over an average of five years. Researchers (found those who ate more than half a tablespoon of olive oil each day had a 15% lower risk of having any kind of cardiovascular disease and a 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease. (information from the British Heart Foundation)
Olive oil can help prevent strokes in people over 65, a study suggests. Researchers followed around 7,000 people aged 65 and over living in three French cities, for at least five years. They found those who used a lot of olive oil in cooking or as a dressing or dip had a lower risk of stroke than those who never used it.
The researchers say older people should be given new dietary advice regarding olive oil, based on the findings, which are published in the journal Neurology. Lead author, Dr Cecilia Samieri, of the University of Bordeaux, said: "Our research suggests that a new set of dietary recommendations should be issued to prevent stroke in people 65 and older.
"Stroke is so common in older people, and olive oil would be an inexpensive and easy way to help prevent it."
It’s no secret that oil is linked to bad cholesterol, but where does olive oil come into the picture and how does this affect you? Extra virgin olive oil is hailed worldwide for its benefits as a key part of the ingredient of the Mediterranean Diet also known as Spain’s ‘golden liquid’.
Too much bad cholesterol, or LDL, can accumulate in your artery walls - putting you at risk of serious cardiovascular illness. Scientific data reviewed by the FDA shows that Monounsaturated fats found in Extra virgin olive oil naturally boost your good cholesterol levels, while reducing the prevalence of bad cholesterol LDL. Making extra virgin olive oil a key part of your daily diet is a powerful way to expose your body to all the nutritional benefits found in polyphenols, decreasing your levels of bad cholesterol.
The incidence of osteoporosis and associated fractures is found to be lower in countries where the Mediterranean diet is predominant. These observations might be mediated by the active constituents of olive oil and especially phenolic compounds. Published evidence suggests that olive oil phenols can be beneficial by preventing the loss of bone mass. It has been demonstrated that they can modulate the proliferative capacity and cell maturation of osteoblasts by increasing alkaline phosphatase activity and depositing calcium ions in the extracellular matrix. Further research on this issue is warranted, given the prevalence of osteoporosis and the few data points available on the action of olive oil on bone.
Extra virgin olive oil reduces blood sugar and cholesterol more than other kinds of fats, according to new research.
The study, conducted at Sapienza University in Romen, could explain the health benefits associated with a traditional Mediterranean diet for people with diabetes.
“Lowering blood glucose and cholesterol may be useful to reduce the negative effects of glucose and cholesterol on the cardiovascular system,” said Francesco Violo, lead author of the study.
This was a small study involving only 25 participants, all of whom ate a typical Mediterranean lunch – consisting primarily of fruits, vegetables, grains and fish – on two separate occasions. For the first meal, they added 10g of extra virgin olive oil. For the second, they added 10g of corn oil.
After each meal, the participants blood glucose levels were tested. The rise in blood sugar levels was much smaller after the meal with extra virgin olive oil than after the meal with corn oil.
The findings were consistent with previous studies, which have linked extra virgin olive oil to higher levels of insulin, making it beneficial to people with type 2 diabetes.
Olive oil acts as an antioxidant, which is a substance that prevents oxidation. Oxidation is a process that can produce free radicals, which are chemicals that can potentially damage cells and may contribute to cancer development.
When applied to the skin, antioxidants may prevent premature ageing. Also, some research suggests that putting olive oil on the skin after sun exposure may fight off cancer-causing cells. Olive oil is a popular natural moisturiser that is often used to soften both skin and hair.
Extra virgin olive oil is packed with monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA). These fatty acids along with keeping your heart healthy and blood sugar levels stable also help assist weight loss. It promotes the feeling of satiety, which prevents you from bingeing on other refined or trans-fat sources laden with empty calories. While the calorie count of olive oil is also no less, but it is so much healthier than other fat sources like butter and refined oil. According to experts, it has higher MUFAs than sesame, coconut, rapeseed, sunflower and corn oil!