The world is falling in love with olive oil. The way it smells the flavor and texture it adds to salads and most any food. Many of us have been using it since childhood. As a physician and nutritionist, I am so happy that the latest research shows that olive oil is extremely healthy and even better for you than we thought.
Here are some of the important health benefits that studies have attributed to olive oil:
- It helps prevent heart disease.
- It lowers blood pressure.
- It is a potent mediator in the inflammatory and immune response which lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Diabetes, Auto-immune disease and many other chronic illnesses.
- It protects against breast and colon cancers.
- It improves skin integrity and structure by maintaining moisture.
What makes olive oil so healthy is the oil’s unique combination of healthy monounsaturated fats and powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols. .This combination helps block the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Most have heard that LDL cholesterol is that “bad” cholesterol. Really, it is the oxidation of LDL cholesterol fuels relentless inflammation, which in turn causes coronary heart disease and all the other diseases mentioned above
A recent Spanish study showed that systolic and diastolic blood pressures fell by approximately 8 mm/Hg on an olive oil diet, compared to those using sunflower oil. It was shown that olive oil led to enhanced relaxation of the aorta that led to blood pressure reduction.
Olive oil can enhance the flavor and heart-healthy quality of all kinds of foods. Be sure to store your olive oil in a dark glass container since light can speed the oxidation of the oil.
It’s interesting to note that the fish oil plus olive oil group had better results than either the fish oil or olive oil group alone. One possible reason for this is that olive oil is rich in antioxidants and may have protected against the potentially greater risk of oxidative damage from consuming more polyunsaturated fat.